27 Jun 2023

Towplanes at the ready for the 12th FAI Women's World Gliding Championships

Forty-eight of the world’s best female pilots are eagerly awaiting the first task of the 12th FAI Women’s World Gliding Championships in Soria, Spain.

The competition begins on 1 July 2023 and runs for two weeks, with the prize ceremony scheduled for 15 July. Standard, Club and 18 metre Classes will be contested, with pilots representing 15 nations taking off from the Garray-Soria aerodrome in the Duero Valley, at the head of the Iberian mountain range. Forests, mountains and grassland terrain offer varied possibilities, with early convergences forming to the north and breezes forming long and wide convergences over the arable fields to the south, with generally higher ceilings.

Some of the pilots have already started training from the airfield, getting to know the local area and weather systems prior to the competition start. After the Opening Ceremony on 1 July, organisers are hoping to encourage new participants to the sport of gliding, with an open day on 8 July. Live race tracking will ensure that global viewers can keep abreast of the daily tasks.

WWGC 2022
Teams on the podium at WWGC 2022 

Forty-three pilots participated in 2022’s competition in Husband’s Bosworth, UK, with the German team champions in the overall teams (having gained gold and silver in Standard class, plus a bronze in Club). France took the silver trophy helped by their first and second places in 18M class and Czech Republic came in third place, with one medal in each class. These three larger teams will continue to have a significant impact on the results in 2023, but there are talented pilots from other countries also competing, so stay tuned on the results to find out who will become the 12th FAI Women’s World Gliding Champions.

Teams (and number of pilots)

  • Denmark (1)
  • Ukraine (1)
  • Germany (10)
  • France (9)
  • Czech Republic (9)
  • UK (6)
  • USA (2)
  • Italy (1)
  • Argentina (1)
  • Brazil (1)
  • Switzerland (2)
  • Netherlands (1)
  • Spain (2)
  • Poland (1)
  • View all registered pilots

France’s Anne Doucarouge and Mélanie Gadoulet, last year’s 18m champion and vice champion, respectively, will be trying to retain their titles, with Alena Netusilova from the large Czech team endeavouring to knock France off the top spot. Netusilova’s team-mate Jana Veprekova will have the same mission in Standard class, flying against 2022 champion and vice champion Cornelia Schaich and Sabrina Vogt of Germany. Czech pilot Petra Piskata will meanwhile be fending off 18 other pilots in Club class, especially Great Britain’s Claudia Hill. Last year’s bronze medal winner in this class was Germany’s Ines Engelhardt who is not participating this year. Last year's Competition Director was Liz Sparrow who had a year off competing for Team Great Britain, but is back behind the controls this year, also in the 18M class.

Gliding WWGC 2022 M. King
Soaring at the WWGC2022 

Image Credits: FAI / Marcus King