World titles in full flight and anyone can claim honours

January 18, 2017

The World Gliding Championships are in full flight at Benalla.

The World Gliding Championships are in full flight at Benalla as 116 pilots from 27 countries drift across Victorian and NSW airspace.

The two-week event is drawing to a close as the last race will be on Saturday, with prestigious bragging rights up for grabs.

World Gliding Championships spokesman Sean Young believed almost anyone could win a medal at Sunday morning’s presentation.

‘‘The event has been going really well and luckily the result still hangs in the balance. We have not had a dominant flyer throughout the whole championships,’’ Young said.

Young was particularly thrilled with the entry numbers, considering most had travelled from far and wide.

‘‘A number of participants have come from Europe, so we are jam-packed with the number of entrants we have had. Any more and we would be struggling to accommodate,’’ Young said.

Regardless of where the event is, participants tend to travel as their love for the sport takes them wherever they need to be.

‘‘The winner is not rewarded anything special, although he has the prestige of knowing that he is the champion,’’ Young said.

‘‘People glide for the love of aviation, the feeling and the satisfaction of being in the air. It is a little similar to sailing — once you get hooked, you struggle to give it away.’’

South Australian Peter Temple won his 18m class yesterday so, depending on results, the Australian will be in with a chance for a medal.

During the open class, racers glide for five to seven hours as they travel more than 700km in a triangular circuit.

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