A PAIR of local sportsmen are on top of the world after soaring to success at an international tournament.

Jake Brattle, from Charlton, became the Junior World Gliding Champion at this summer’s FAI Junior World Gliding Championships in Szeged, Hungary, with teammate Finn Sleigh, of Andover, taking the silver medal.

The duo were competing against the world’s very best glider pilots and 25-year-old Jake’s success comes after winning the UK Junior National Championships for the last two years.

He said: “It’s an incredible feeling to win a gold medal for the team and my country. I’m so proud.”

Teammate Finn, 22, is also celebrating after finishing second in the championships with 8,306 points to Jake’s 8,453.

Finn added: “I’m lucky to be part of an amazing squad and would like to thank everyone who has supported me and my team mates on our journey to reach the Junior World Gliding Championships in Hungary and played a part in Team GB’s phenomenal success.”

The competition took place over thirteen days with points awarded daily to the fastest pilots to fly from point-to-point around each day’s set cross country task.

The British Gliding Team’s success in Hungary was a huge team effort that started twelve months ago when Finn and Jake first visited the country to learn the conditions.

Jake said: “From our tireless families supporting us as crews to the coaches we trained with and to all of the generous crowd funding donors, glider donors and our sponsors that helped us to maximise our training schedule this year; it really could not have happened without everyone's help and so we are very grateful.”

Jake and Finn both got into flying at a young age.

Finn spent a lot of time on airfields when he was younger and was even able to overcome an initial fear of flying on his way to becoming a championship glider.

For Jake, it was his grandad, an ex-RAF pilot, who helped him on his way after buying him a trial lesson at the age of 13.

Jake said: “It’s a very accessible sport with clubs all around the country for all ages and backgrounds.

“It’s how I started with an introductory flight and just kept going. You could end up in Team GB!”