A 15-year-old Brisbane boy is Australia’s newest racing world champion.
Rudi Browning, from Brisbane, just took out the World Drone Racing Championships in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, beating 127 other competitors across four days of competition for a $14,000 cash prize.
Chinese state media agency Xinhua said more than 10,000 fans packed the Shenzhen Universiade Centre Stadium to watch the final on Sunday, where Australia also beat Sweden and South Korea to win the team title. Browning was also part of that four-man team, which collected a $43,000 prize.
Here’s what those fans were seeing:
But the action was much more intense inside the FPV goggles Browning was wearing:
This year’s 650-metre course was shaped like a Chinese knot, in honour of the location, and lit up with 7 kilometres of LED lights:
And it really is the ultimately accessible elite sport. The women’s championship was won by 11-year-old Thai girl Wanraya Wannapong.
Browning said he “dreamed of” the moment when he would win a world title. He’s been knocking on the door for a few years, too – as a 12-year-old, he took out the Australian national title as the sport was emerging from its fledgling status.
“I’m still shaking actually,” he said after the race, according to a statement from race organiser, the FAI. “I have had a lot of ups and downs in races, like everyone, and this is definitely one massive high.”