Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Malaysian Team To Compete In Pattaya International Hot Air Balloon Race

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 (Bernama) -- A seven-member hot air balloon team, captained by Khairudin Abdul Rani will head to Pattaya next month for the Pattaya International Balloon Fiesta held in conjunction with the 80th birthday celebrations of Thailand's King Bhumipol Adulyadej.According to Khairudin, who is also the managing director of AKA Balloons Sdn Bhd and a balloonist for almost 15 years, the week long race will see about 25 teams from all over the world competing.He added that hot air balloon races are still in its infancy Malaysia but is a popular sport in Europe and America and even in some parts of Asia, like the Philippines."The Philippines International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is a yearly event on the international calender and we have been competing in it for the past 13 years. However, this is the first time Thailand are organising such a fiesta," he told Bernama.A vice president of the Malaysian Sports Aviation Federation (MSAF) which governs all sports aviation activities in the country like paragliding, paramotoring, parajumping and hot air balloon races, Khairudin said there are only five qualified hot air balloon pilots in the country."All five are in the team that will compete in Pattaya from Dec 8-12 and we hope to come back with a good result," said Khairudin, who finished second in Philippines last year."I took up the sport when I was studying in the United Kingdom and not only got hooked to it, but I'm also involved in the balloon and airship business."The team: Khairudin Abd Rani, Mohamad Sobri Saad, Azam Manaf, Abdul Wahab Ma'sod, Mohd Fekri Ahmad, Fauzi Eusoff, Sheikh Faleigh Sheikh Mansor.

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