15 Oct 2023

Asian Oceanic Test event in Korea - successful result!

The test event of the 2nd FAI Asian Oceanic Paragliding Championships was successfully held in Mungyeong South Korea. Unique in its kind it was also a stage of PWC Asian Tour. Both FAI CIVL President Bill Hughes and PWC President Goran Dimiskovski have noted this collaboration as challenging but very successful. The event was organized by KPGA Korean Paragliding Association headed by Gin Seok Song,  the president, and Han Yun Jo, the general manager. It started on October 6, 2023 and lasted 9 days till October 14, 2023. 91 pilots from 6 Asian-Oceanic and 8 guest nations came to compete in Mungyeong. Pilots from AustraliaChina, Hong Kong (China), Japan, Kazakhstan, and South Korea, were representing the continental championship. The test event enjoyed 6 valid tasks of which 3 were short due to weak conditions but still were very challenging as required a lot of piloting knowledge, skills, and tactical decisions. 

The opening ceremony started with the pilots' parade. The participants were warmly greeted by Hyun-kook Shin the Mayor of Mungyeong City, Chang-Ryong Jung the president of Maeil Newspaper of Mungyeong City, Gin Seok Song the president of the Korean Paragliding Association, Bill Hughes the president of CIVL and Goran Dimiskovski the president of the PWCA. 

The same day a Mandatory safety briefing was held in the conference room of SNUH - Seoul University National Hospital Training Center - the main venue of accommodation and HQ of the Test event.

The take-off of Mungyoeng is a grassy hilltop open on 270 degrees - SW, W, N, E, SE - that allows pilots to launch almost at any wind direction. The surface is covered with soft lawn grass and rope mesh. On the south side, there is a briefing zone with amphitheater seats and a launch area overview. There is a bar with toilets and soft-drinks vending machine and a 360-degree-assembly room adjacent to the take-off.  It takes 20 min to drive from the accommodation to the take-off by asphalt road. The landing area is right under the take-off and can be seen from the briefing zone. 


The pilot very much enjoyed the friendly non-stressed atmosphere - all the staff were highly professional, caring, and helpful. Logistics were easy - there was no need to carry the glider which was delivered right to the take-off. The tasks were various and required a lot of thinking. The retrieve worked well. Flymaster live tracking provided for additional safety and was used as the primary means for. Daniel Dimov implemented live scoring for PWC and advised pilots of their best possible results during the race. And besides the pilots enjoyed the food. The lunch pack that was given was claimed to be the most gastronomical that was ever seen in CIVL and PWC events. It consisted of meat or seafood, garnished with fruits and vegetables and rice of course.




Of the 6 tasks 2 were won by Yongmook Won KOR 2 by Martin Jovanoski MKD and 1 by Zhifeng Zhu CHN and Chikyong Ha KOR.  Yongmook Won is one of the most experienced Korean pilots competing for over 22 years he is ranked 408 in the World. It was his 11th competition in Mungyeong. He acknowledged he likes very much to go there not only for flying but also due to food delicacies. He was competing with his son Chikwon Won who is one of the most promising Korean juniors in paragliding ranked N 1 in Korea and 16 Junior in the World. Nevertheless, not all the task winners ended up on the podium. The first 3 in Asian Oceanic Overall were Zhenjun Zhao CHN,  Keiko Hiraki JPN, and Jianyuan Lu CHN. The best results among Korean pilots showed Songmin Lee and Moonseob Lim who came 4th and 5th respectively. Yongmook Won was the 7th. In the PWC Asian tour overall guest pilots Zelko Ovuka SRB and Martin Jovanoski MKD were rivaling Keiko Hiraki  JPN for first place throughout the whole event. Since 2nd task up to the 5th the "Three in Comp Overall" looked like Martin - Keiko - Zeljko in various combinations. But the 6th task was decisive - both leaders Martin and Keiko bombed out and Zeljko managed to arrive to the goal. That flight required a lot of patience - only 16 pilots out of 91 made it to the goal. It brought victory to Zhenjun Zhao CHN who landed on goal second after Yongmook Won KOR.

In Women category (both Asian Oceanic and PWC) Keiko Hiraki was leading all the time closely followed by another Japanese pilotess - Tomoko Yoshikawa who in her turn experienced serious rivalry with Korean female pilots Jinhee Baek and Hyunhee Kim. In total there were 12 women from 3 countries competing in the event.

Mungyeong flying site is a regular place for the event of the Korean paragliding league. So most of the local pilots were very familiar with it. From the safety side, there were no major issues. One day the launches were subjected to constant wind direction change but the pilots coped with this thanks to a 270-degree take-off. On another day one Korean pilot overestimated his wing and skills and landed in a tree. A mountain rescue team brought him down and ran a medical check  - the sportsman was uninjured. The zone is also an operation site of Mungyeong Tandems. Many people especially come there for a flight over breathtaking landscapes.

Mungyeong City boosts tourism - numerous meetings and festivals are held there. The city is also adjacent to the national park with an ancient gate - Mungyeong was considered one of the fundamental milestones on the way of Confucian scholars heading toward taking a state exam. Planning such a pilgrimage via Mungyeong was sure to bring luck due to the meaning of the hieroglyphic writing of the place.


We congratulate the winners:

Asian-Oceanic Overall

1. Zhenjun Zhao CHN

2. Keiko Hiraki JPN

3. Jianyuan Lu CHN

Asian-Oceanic Female

1. Keiko Hiraki JPN

2. Tomoko Yoshikawa JPN

3. Jinhee Baek KOR

PWC Asian Tour Overall

1. Zhenjun Zhao CHN

2. Zeljko Ovuka SRB

3. Martin Jovanoski MKD

PWC Asian tour Female

1. Keiko Hiraki JPN

2. Tomoko Yoshikawa JPN

3. Jinhee Baek KOR

PWC Teams


2. KoreaPara

3. China Three Team


All results by the link on CIVLcomps

And Pwca.events https://pwca.events/