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Taking off for a new trophy

Switzerland's Bertrand Piccard (right) and Brian Jones after completing their round-the-world balloon flight last year Keystone

A new competititon is being launched to honour Switzerland's Bertrand Piccard and his co-pilot, Brian Jones of Britain, who became the first aviators to circumnavigate the world non-stop in a balloon last year.

The “Piccard-Jones Trophy” annual race, due to last a total of three weeks, is due to lift off for the first time at Chateau d’Oex, canton Vaud, on March 1, 2001, the organisers announced on Wednesday.

It will be open to three types of balloon. Competitors will have three attempts to fly at least 100 kilometres.

The International Alpine Centre for Hot Air Ballooning, which organises a major annual ballooning event in Chateau d’Oex, decided to create the contest to honour Piccard and Jones, who took off from the town on March 1, 1999.

Their round the world journey, lasting 19 days 21 hours and 47 minutes, ended in Egypt.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR