December 2, 2015
Parachutist Cornelia Mihai punched the air after coming into land from her first jump in the skydiving swooping, or canopy piloting, competition in Dubai.
And well she might - the only female skydiver in the competition, she managed to travel a distance of well over 130m after pulling off a featherlight touch down in the swooping pool. "I'm happy with it," she said of her performance. "It's not bad for the first round."
We can expect a lot more from this rising star of the skydiving world over the next few days, though. "It was a bit tricky today, and you don't want to take risks in the first round," she said. "If you make a mistake, it can play with your mind for the rest of the competition. That's happened before so I am trying to learn from experience and hopefully get better and better during the rest of the event."
Born in Romania, Mihai now lives and trains in Dubai, and flies for the United Arab Emirates team. "There are three of us competing in this event, and getting to train here definitely gives us an advantage," she said. "We know the winds and the conditions really well."
She started swooping four years ago, and says she has fitted in easily in a world dominated by men. "I have been competing for so long now that it just feels normal being the only girl," she said. "It was a bit different in the beginning, but I just kept doing my own thing and really it makes no difference if you are male or female. The other competitors are very supportive."
Her aim here in Dubai is to leave the boys in her dust. "My game plan? I want to win and become the new champion," she said.
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