Alex Ploner has won the FAI Hang Gliding World Championships 2023 (Class 1) for the fourth time, and Sasha Serebrennikova is the women’s World Champion. Anton Raumauf of Austria takes the Class 5 title.
Held in Krushevo, North Macedonia over two weeks from 6-19 August the Class 1 and Class 5 Championships were held side by side. 104 pilots from 22 nations took part in Class 1, and 27 in Class 5. The Class 5 (rigid) hang gliders are able to fly in stronger wind conditions than the Class 1 (flexwings). They had nine tasks of 86km, 130km, 137km, 83km, 141km, 128km, 164km, 175km and 141km; days two and three were blown out for the flexwings, but their seven tasks were 80km, 69km, 121km, 109km, 151km, 152km and 127km.
Alex Ploner’s Class 1 win was decisive, with Italian teammate Marco Laurenzi (Aeros Combat GT) more than 200 points behind in second place. Third was Alvaro Sandoli (aka the Brazilian pilot Nene Rotor, Wills Wing T3) who was just five points behind Laurenzi in third.
This was Alex’s fourth world championship title (2009, 2011, 2019 and 2023); he has also won the European Championships three times (2012, 2018 and 2022) and the Class 5 (rigids) world championships twice (2001 and 2008). Alex was flying an Icaro 2000 Laminar.
Behind the top three the top 10 read like a Who’s-Who of hang gliding greats: former World Champion Attila Bertok in 4th; Britain’s Grant Crossingham in 5th; Hungary’s Balazs Ujhelhi in 6th; followed by Jonny Durand (AU), Christian Ciech (IT), Primoz Gricar (DE) and Franz Hermann (CH).
In the Women’s class there was everything to play for as two of the world’s top women went head-to-head every task, swapping task wins day by day and the result not being clear until the very end. Finally though Sasha Serebrennikova (AT, Moyes Litespeed RX 3 Pro) took home the first women’s world championship gold to be awarded in almost a decade. With 7,003 points she was a clear winner over Corinna Schwiegershausen (DE, Moyes Litespeed RX 3 Pro) who scored 6,263 points and took silver.
Both pilots were at least 2,000 points ahead of Japan’s Chisato Nojiri (Aeros Combat GT) who took bronze. She in turn however was put under strong pressure by the USA’s Claudia Meija, who finished fourth. There were seven women competing.
In the Nations, Italy continued its total dominance of Class 1 hang gliding competition. With a total of 21,057 points at the end of the competition they were 2,389 clear of silver medallists Great Britain. It was the seventh team gold in Italian hang gliding history. Brazil took home the team bronze after Team GB pulled past them over the last two tasks.
The Class 5 competition was tight at the top, but Anton Raumauf (AT, AIR Atos VR) finally flew off with the gold having scored a total of 7,782 points. Just 182 points behind him Dirk Ripkens (DE, AIR Atos) was in second with Andreas Sand (AT, AIR Atos) in third. It was a tough battle for Dirk as he had been leading the competition but a series of mistakes saw him drop out of the medal rankings meaning he then had to fight his way back up. In the nations competition it was gold, silver, bronze for Austria, Germany, Japan. No women were competing.
Class 1 Overall
- Alex Ploner, IT, Icaro 2000 Laminar
- Marco Laurenzi, IT, Aeros Combat GT
- Alvaro Sandoli, BR, Wills Wing T3
Class 1 Women
- Sasha Serebrennikova, AT, Moyes Litespeed RX 3 Pro
- Corinna Schwiegershausen, DE, Moyes Litespeed RX 3 Pro
- Chisato Nogiri, JP, Aeros Combat GT
Class 1 Nations
- Great Britain
Class 5 Overall
- Anton Raumauf, AT, AIR Atos VR
- Dirk Ripkens, DE, Air Atos
- Andreas Sand, AT, Air Atos
Class 5 Nations
See the full results at civlcomps.org