Multiple Australian hang gliding champion and world record holder Jonny Durand entered the World Hang Gliding Championships ranked No.1 in the world. But with just one day left of competition from a 10-day window tomorrow, capitalizing on his form and claiming that coveted world title look just out of Jonny’s grasp.
Currently sitting seventh from more than 100, Jonny was robbed of an opportunity to claw back the leaders when Day Nine was cancelled on account of a rain storm. That leaves just tomorrow, where high winds are anticipated and could result in a second cancellation and premature finale of the event, to fight back.
“It will be nearly impossible for me to make up the difference on the last day unless the top guys make a mistake,” says a candid Jonny.
“I had a really bad day yesterday and the top two, well, they’ve just been very consistent and deserve their placings. The rest of us have had some bad days and with today being cancelled, it won’t give us a chance to change things.
"As much as this sport is about luck with weather systems and what not, it’s still the top guys in the top-10, just the order changes."
As disappointed as he is not to get his hands on that elusive title, Jonny says he has plenty to take away from the event.
“It’s been good to get eight days of flying in some pretty amazing scenery,” he says.
“I’m one place in front of the four-time world and current world champ which is only the second time I have ever beaten him, so that’s exciting. And the place requires such technical flying and it has been a huge learning experience for me.”
Fortunately for Jonny, age is no barrier in hang gliding and he can only improve and become stronger in years to come. But of course, the nigh-flying event doesn’t come without disaster, several competitors falling victim to turbulence and forcing parachute landings, while another ended up in hospital overnight following a hard landing.
Tomorrow is meant to be the final day of competition but may be cancelled on account of a strong weather system moving through the area and making conditions too dangerous.
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