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16 Jun, 2007 03:29

Fifty-two namesakes set parachute record

A head for heights and no fear of falling to earth at 50 metres per second – those are the qualities needed for wannabe-skydivers. But the professionals like to go one step further.

A Russian sky-diving team has been trying to set a new world record. Fifty-two parachutists, all bearing the same name Dima, leave even their coach struggling.

The men have traveled for hundreds of miles from across Russia and post Soviet states to congregate in the Moscow Region.

The jump is choreographed to ensure all the parachutists understand their role. Lying on your stomach with your feet in the air may look odd on the ground, but if all the 52 Dimas want to perform their role perfectly, training is crucial.

After several hours of preparation finally the plane and the jumpers are ready to go. Despite a smattering of nervous tension, there is plenty of excitement about the challenge ahead.

Now the plane's stable at 4,000 metres from earth the first Dima prepares to jump. The other 51 aren't far behind. Precision timing is the key as the men hurtle towards the ground fixated on forming the letter D.

“It’s actually quite difficult to have so many people falling and floating like one person. They have to have the same speed, the same effort,” organizer Dmitry Balashov says.

Back on solid ground the jumpers are determined to get together, maybe with a few more Dimas, to set a new record next year.