12 Dec 2015

Standing ovation for new Hot Air Ballooning champion

David Strasmann of Germany was presented with a Gold medal last night (December 11) for winning the FAI World Air Games Hot Air Ballooning competition.

A crowd of about 300 spectators and supporters cheered wildly and gave the winner a standing ovation as he accepted his medal.

The 34-year-old clinched the competition against 67 other balloon teams, with strong performances in the Pilot Declared Race to Area task, and the Hesitation Waltz task, in which the pilot has to drop a marker as close to a target on the ground as possible.

The German said: "It was a tough competition because we had this wind changing direction in the afternoon, but we had a good crew, good speed, good wind measurements."

But he admitted that it wasn't just a question of skill in the Hesitation Waltz round. "To have the last metre in this competition it takes some luck."

Also on the podium were Steven Vlegels from Belgium in silver-winning second, and Stefan Zeberli from Switzerland, in third place taking bronze. Zeberli lifted Strasmann into the air after the winners national anthem had played.

By Andy Pag

Photos: Marcus King / FAI Media

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