The super finals day lived up to its expectations as the Red Bull Paper Wings World Finals 2015 culminated with the champions winning their titles and a breath-taking atmosphere in Hangar-7, Salzburg, Austria. No kerosene, no engine, just a regular A4 sheet of paper and a pilot throwing it, is enough to earn the world finals title.
With more than 70 accredited media from 16 nations, the world’s paper plane elite gathered in Austria after a grueling 535 qualifiers and more than 46,000 contenders world wide. And the 200 athletes who made it to Salzburg delivered.
Veselin Ivanov of Bulgaria dethroned champion Thomas Back in the longest distance category even though the Czech edged close to a world record with his second throw. Ivanov kept his cool in an electrifying atmosphere to win with a throw of 53.22m ahead of Jovica Kozlica from Croatia and Japan’s Yuki Kajiya, who managed third thanks to his plane’s unique design.
“I did not expect this,” a tearful Ivanov said. “I cannot believe I won. It is such a dream come true for me.”
The aerobatics category was equally tight with the winner, Lebanese Avedis Tchamitchian, seemingly defying the laws of physics as he landed a maximum 50 points.
“I am overwhelmed,” he said. “The judging was so fair for every participant. Just awesome. I will definitely be back in 2018 to defend my title.”
“As judges we're looking for three things: We're looking for the construction, the creativity and the flight performance,” said Internet sensation Zach King, one of five judges. Double Olympic champion sailor Hans Peter Steinacher: “It is amazing what some of the competitors come up with. Sensational ideas. I am fascinated by the creativity on show.”
There was a nail-biting finale for the longest airtime title, the narrowest seen at the Red Bull Paper Wings World Finals with Armenian Karen Hambardzumyan snatching victory with a 14.36 second flight, ahead of Ma Ieng from Hong Kong, whose plane lasted 13.76 seconds in the air. Japan’s Yohei Hayashi was third.
Final Ranking Longest Distance:
1. Veselin IVANOV (BUL) – 53,22 m
2. Jovica KOZLICA (CRO) – 51,22 m
3. Yuki KAJIYA (JPN) – 50,05 m
Final Ranking Aerobatics:
1. Avedis TCHAMITCHIAN (LBN) – 50 points
2. Tomasz CHODYRA (POL) – 47 .
3. Ryan NACCARATO (USA) – 46 .
Final Ranking Longest Airtime:
1. Karen HAMBARDZUMYAN (ARM) – 14,36 secs
2. MA IENG (HKG) – 13,76 secs.
3. Yohei HAYASHI (JPN) – 12,18 secs.
Hong Kong – 21 points
Images by Samo Vidic and Sebastian Marko for Red Bull Content Pool.