Jules McConnel and team Ookoonono win Silver at FAI World Canopy Championships: video

Team Australia Craig Bennett, Jules McConnel and Michael Vaughan set a new Australian record.

Team Australia Craig Bennett, Jules McConnel and Michael Vaughan set a new Australian record.

JULES McConnel has spent half her life jumping out of aeroplanes - but insists it still affords that adrenaline rush.

‘‘I love the freedom of it,’’ the skydiver said.

‘‘I still get that enjoyment out of it... I still get the rush.’’

The silver medal-winning Australian skydiving team (left to right) Michael Vaughan, Jules McConnel and Craig Bennett.

The silver medal-winning Australian skydiving team (left to right) Michael Vaughan, Jules McConnel and Craig Bennett.

Dual Jamberoo/Moruya resident and skydiving instructor McConnel, 38, was rewarded for her death-defying ways with a silver medal at the 16th FAI World Canopy Championships at Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina in late August.

Competing in a two-way canopy formation with her Ookoonono team mates Michael Vaughan and Craig Bennett, the Australians scored 113 points to finish five points behind France. 

The record-breaking skydive.

Of the 19 entrants, the Ookoonono team set the highest round of the competition, also a new Australian record, with 31 formations in one minute.

‘‘We are ecstatic to be on the podium again,’’ McConnel said.

‘‘We didn’t prepare as much this year compared to previous years, so I guess our experience has paid off...We’re amazed that we can continue to improve our performance.’’

Ookoonono took home bronze at Dubai in 2012 and silver at Russia in 2010.

“I guess our experience paid off,” McConnel said.

“We’re amazed that we can continue to improve our performance.”

The tournament was cut short by two rounds after weather forced organisers to close competition.

McConnel said the Ookoonono team hoped to go one better at the next world championships in Chicago in 2016. 

‘‘Each competition we have improved,’’ she said. McConnel has been jumping for 19 years, and been a member of the team for eight. 

‘‘It was just something that I wanted to try,’’ she said.

‘‘When I did the tandem skydive I just got hooked.

‘‘Every skydive there is an element of danger, but luckily myself and my team have world-class coaching in the past eight years.

‘‘We’ve learnt from their mistakes and not to repeat them.’’

McConnel said although beginning to gain traction in the US and Europe, she hoped to boost the profile of skydiving as a competitive sport in Australia. 

‘‘It’s not a mainstream sport by any means, but we’re trying to promote the sport, as it’s something we’re really passionate about,’’ she said.

‘‘It would be nice if it was a bit more commonly known.’’

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