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The FAI World Cup 2019 will still follow in October on Airspeed home turf at Skydive Arizona. However, the scores at the national championships determine the U.S. national teams for the next year. The U.S. delegation for the FAI World Cup 2019, with four eligible teams in each event, is selected by the results at last year's nationals.
The NSL News reported earlier that Rhythm's tail Doug Barron was back in action at the Wind Games, and the same update mentioned that his team was within reach of the first 30+ average in team history after Round 8.
SDC Rhythm XP finished two points short of the next benchmark with a 29.8 average two rounds later. However, the combination of Doug Barron's successful comeback and the new team record average was an encouraging result of the Rhythm trip to Spain and an impressive start into the 2019 season.
Wind Games 2019
|2||Weembi High Rollers||FR||29||33||26||47||31||28||44||32||34||29||333||33.3|
|5||SDC Rhythm XP||US||29||29||23||41||27||26||37||27||35||24||298||29.8|
There is no doubt that Arizona Airspeed are orienting themselves by looking at the Belgian and French scores, while the U.S. challenger still has an earlier target. In fact, SDC Rhythm XP have to get beyond Arizona Airspeed first, before representing the United States at an FAI World Championship of Formation Skydiving.
However, other events, including this year's FAI World Cup in Eloy, allow other teams to compete with and against national teams from different countries. SDC Rhythm XP met most of the world's best 4-way teams at the Wind Games, while the domestic duel with Arizona Airspeed is still the major challenge.
The highest indoor average in the Rhythm history brought the team significantly closer to Airspeed. The 1.6 difference (31.4 - 29.8) is the closest since Arizona Airspeed's first competition with the new lineup at the Paraclete XP Indoor Championship 2017, where Rhythm finished in 1st place.
The Qatar Tigers are currently the world's best outdoor 4-way team behind the FAI medal positions, and they surely have Arizona Airspeed as an indoor target, just the same as SDC Rhyhtm XP. The 30.0 average is the first indoor number with new 4-way coach Gary Smith, and it is only slightly behind the team's 30.3 record average at the World Challenge 2018 with a faster competition draw.
The Qatar Tigers did not compete at the FAI Indoor World Cup 2018, where a 30+ average would have won the bronze medals. Gary Smith now has little over two months to move the Tigers even closer to Arizona Airspeed and to the medal positions at the FAI Indoor World Meet at Weembi Lille in April.
Qatar coaches Gary Smith and Jeremie Rollett will both be in France for the event, which includes an 8-way competition, as well.