December 6, 2015
Huge cheers went up at Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Hotel last night (December 5), as the new FAI World Air Games aerobatics champions - France's Olivier Masurel and Italian gliding ace Luca Bertossio - received their gold medals.
The two pilots grinned in delight as they showed off their cherished new jewellery to the crowd.
Here at the World Air Games, the aerobatics competition is divided into two categories: powered and glider.
Bertossio won the glider aerobatics event, beating Hungarian Ferenc Toth into second place and Premsyl Vavra, of the Czech Republic, into third.
Masurel was victorious in the powered aerobatics, with Artur Kielak from Poland and American Rob Holland taking silver and bronze.
"It's an honour to compete with these pilots," he said. "They were my idols growing up."
Dashing Frenchman Masurel, here competing in his first ever World Air Games, also played down his prowess in the air when we caught up with him after the ceremony.
"It's a fantastic feeling to win when you're up against the best pilots in the world," said Masurel, 35.
"This event was not always easy; we did not get to do much training because our planes took two months to be shipped here and the visibility was poor at times. But I'm delighted to have won."
The double medal ceremony was the highlight of the lavish World Air Games Gala Dinner, attended by competitors and organisers alike.
FAI president Dr John Grubbström summed up the atmosphere. "It's absolutely magnificent," he said.
By Jess Bown
Photos: Marcus King / FAI Media Team
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