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The 34th FAI World Gliding Championships in Australia ends on a high: the final results

Benalla, Australia - For Open Class, 18 metre class, 15 metre class and team cup

Hard two-week battle in Australian skies sees three new FAI Gliding World Champions win gold. Three new FAI Gliding World Champions were crowned in Australia on Sunday 22 January 2017 – bringing to a close a hard-fought two-week long competition in Australia. Russell Cheetham from Great Britain took gold in the Open Class, scraping ahead of defending FAI World Champion Michael Sommer (GER) by a mere 13 points out of a total of 6,562. Cheetham’s teammate, Andrew Davis (GBR), took home the bronze in third position. France’s Killian Walbrou took gold in the hotly contested 18 Metre Class. The class refers to the wingspan. The young pilot beat Germany’s Mario Kiessling and Great Britain’s Mike Young into silver and bronze positions respectively. And finally, gliding legend Sebastian Kawa from Poland secured yet another FAI Gliding World Championship gold medal, with a comprehensive win in the 15 Metre Class. He beat Japan’s Makoto Ishikawa and Poland’s Lukas Grabowski into second and third. Cheetham was flying alongside teammate Andrew Davis, who finished third in Open Class. Davis, who has two FAI Gliding World Championship gold medals to his name, said his teammate had earned his win. Held in Australia over two weeks, the 34th FAI World Gliding Championships suffered from some poor weather, which meant only six tasks were completed, out of a possible 11. Conditions in the sky on the taskable days were dominated by blue skies and lack of clouds – creating difficult and at times tight flying conditions. However, the competition was a closely-fought battle and attracted a high number of pilots. Some 116 pilots from 27 countries traveled to the small town of Benalla in rural Victoria to take part in the competition, which ran from 8-22 January 2017. The winner of the 18 Metre Class, Killian Walbrou, said the competition had been “really, really tricky". In gliding competitions pilots take off and fly around a different course every day. They must tag certain turnpoints, before returning to HQ. Each task is several hundred kilometres long and takes several hours to compete. The fastest around the course wins. Gliders do not use engines or propellers, relying instead on thermals - columns of rising air - to gain altitude before gliding on. Walbrou dedicated his win to his two-year-old daughter who has been in hospital recently. In the Team results, Great Britain took home the gold, with France and Germany in second and third on the podium. Final Results Open Class 1 Russell Cheetham (GBR) 2 Michael Sommer (GER) 3 Andrew Davis (GBR) 18 Metre Class 1 Killian Walbrou (FRA) 2 Mario Kiessling (GER) 3 Mike Young (GBR) 15 Metre Class 1 Sebastian Kawa (POL) 2 Makoto Ichikawa (JPN) 3 Lukasz Grabowski (POL) Team Cup 1 United Kingdom 2 France 3 Germany. See for details AVIONEWS.

fra/pec - 1201660

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