Aucklander wins silver at world gliding champs

Last updated 12:03 11/08/2014
John Coutts
KIWI GLIDER: John Coutts.

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New Zealand glider pilot John Coutts has finished second at the world gliding championships in Poland after a stunning comeback.

Coutts was in 24th place in the 18m class, flying a JS-1B glider after the early stages of the event in Leszno.

The competition was held over two weeks with pilots flying an average of 400 kilometres a day, racing other competitors using their weather and strategic skills to use the lift generated by wind and thermal currents.

Coutts, from Auckland, began his charge in the second week, slowing working himself into medal contention.

On the final day, yesterday, he was just 120 points behind Polish pilot Staryszak Karol, with the gold medal within his reach. But as conditions for the flight weakened, the course was shortened, reducing the points available to be won.

Coutts finished 10th on the final day, beating Staryszak (31st), but still trailed the Pole by seven points in the final standings.

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