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Also, it is probably acceptable to end up only behind the reigning indoor and outdoor world champions from Belgium in the most challenging and accomplishing part of the world rankings.
The Black Cat members could have ended up in the top position if the rankings considered the complete history of the teams and competitors, not only the 2017 season. Four of the five Black Cat members have their own FAI gold medals in their collections, which they won in 8-way long ago. They have also won FAI bronze medals in 4-way.
The current Black Cat 4-way lineup consists of eight active members, which is also quite unusual for a world class 4-way team. Evgeny Stashchenko, Vasily Korotkov and Alexander Kvochur are the original members who founded the team together with Alexey Minaev and Vadim Niyazov on camera in 2005.
Malevsky Cup 2005
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Evgeny Stashchenko, Vasily Korotkov and Alexey Minaev had just won FAI 4-way bronze medals with the Sky Panthers and sponsor Michail Kuznetsov in the lineup in Croatia 2004.
Valentin Ilin joined Black Cat in 2014, together with team sponsor Valeriy Gredasov, who he trained and competed with before in Sunny Wind. Valery Pripilyak was a Black Cat player sponsor in 2011. Alexander Golovkin is a 4-way and 8-way experienced alternate who steps in whenever he is needed.
Evgeny Stashchenko, Vasily Korotkov, Alexander Kvochur and Valentin Ilin, with Vadim Niyazov on camera, are the core lineup and have brought Black Cat to the world's top level since 2014. They train and compete with alternate and sponsor Valeriy Gredasov whenever there is some time for it.
Evgeny Stashchenko and Vasily Korotkov were in the Russian 8-way lineup that won FAI gold medals in 2001, together with their Black Cat team mates Alexey Minaev and Vladimir Pavlenko. Vasily Korotkov, Alexey Minaev and Vladimir Pavlenko defended their 8-way title successfully in 2003.
Then this 8-way team split, and R.T. Evolution Pro continued in 8-way for Russia with a new lineup. That's also the time when the 8-way world champion team mates switched to 4-way and continued with two different teams, Sky Panthers and Black Cat.
Russian Indoor Nationals 2017
Vladimir Pavlenko trained and competed with Sky Panthers, later with Barkli, and he won 4-way bronze in 2010, with two other former 8-way team mates in the lineup, Oleg Shalamikhin and Sergej Shenin. Michail Kuznetsov was the sponsor player, and Andrey Seliverstov was filming the team.
Vladimir Pavlenko had also joined the Tanay 8-way lineup in 2016, with Black Cat members Evgeny Stashchenko, Valentin Ilin, Vasily Korotkov and Alexander Kvochur in the lineup. It was no big surprise that Black Cat was asking Vladimir Pavlenko to step in when Evgeny Stashchenko had to take a break last year.
The 2017 lineup with Vladimir Pavlenko (Valentin Ilin, Vasily Korotkov, Alexander Kvochur, Vadim Niyazov on camera) was still the first time that the former 8-way team mates and Sky Panthers/Black Cat rivals were back together in the same 4-way team. It was a very successful 2017 season for Black Cat, and Vladimir Pavlenko filled Evgeny Stashchenko's slot more than adequately...