The 2019 FAI World Drone Racing Championship Grand Final was held at a dedicated drone-racing track, built especially for the competition in Xiangshan Ningbo, a coastal city in the south east of China about 300km from Shanghai.
16-year-old Korean drone pilot Changhyeon Kang is the new FAI World Drone Racing Champion in the Overall and Junior categories while 12-year-old Wanraya “Milk” Wannapong of Thailand successfully defended her title for the Women’s category.
Australia’s Thomas Bitmatta, 20, in second place and French pilot Killian Rousseau, 15, came in third in the Overall category while Korean Siyun Park, 15, and Teng Ma, 34, of the USA in the Women’s category in the championship that took place at Ningbo, China from 11-14 December 2019.
Speaking at the event, Acting Secretary General of the FAI Markus Haggeney said: “Congratulations to all the medallists, particularly the Korean team on claiming gold medals in a total of three categories, and the impressive young Thai pilot Wanraya Wannapong, who is now an FAI World Champion for the second time at just 12 years old.
“And thanks to everyone who has played a part in making this FAI World Drone Racing Championship Grand Final such an excellent competition. There has been a fantastic atmosphere throughout and the Aero Sports Federation of China (ASFC), the organiser Starmach, the city of Ningbo and all the officials and volunteers have done a great job.”
The competition took place over four days:
- 11 December: Model processing and practice flights
- 12 December: Opening ceremony and qualifying rounds
- 13 December: Elimination rounds
- 14 December: Elimination rounds, finals, medal and closing ceremonies
Among the 112 participating pilots, 103 drone pilots, including 40 juniors and nine women, competed as part of 31 national teams. The other nine pilots competed as individuals.
Team Malaysia sent two drone pilots this year, Amir Rijal, 24 (ranked 93/111) and Amir Keri Jr., 20 (ranked 83/111).
Pilots tested their skills on a three-level championship racetrack that was 4m wide and 6m high, with a total length of 630m. Called Bi-Fish, it was inspired by the traditional Chinese Tai Chi symbol, and the maritime culture of Xiangshan, Ningbo – a former fishing village – and included lots of sharp turns, 16 air gates, and a tunnel.
AsiaFitnessToday.com supported Team Malaysia as its Official Media Partner, and drone racing has been adopted as a Move8 Pro program for youth – getting young people outdoors and moving.
- KANG Changhyeon (KOR)
- BITMATTA Thomas (AUS)
- ROUSSEAU Killian (FRA)
- WANNAPONG Wanraya (THA)
- PARK Siyun (KOR)
- MA Teng (USA)
- KANG Changhyeon (KOR)
- KIM JaeJong (KOR)
- HEEPS Sam (AUS)