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There has been no leaderboard at FAI World Championships of Formation Skydiving since 2018 without a team from Qatar in a medal position. Last year's world meet in Eloy featured the two national teams both on the FAI podium for the first time, Tigers in 4-way (3rd) and Falcons in 8-way (2nd).
The development of Formation Skydiving competition in Qatar continues, as the NSL News reported on January 24th, after NSL Live Talk with Qatar coaches Gary Smith and Luc Verstrepen. They explained how the Qatar management has been creating two 4-way farm teams, Cheetahs and Lions, who will turn into members of the national teams when needed.
There is no doubt that Qatar's goals include the top spots on FAI World Championship leaderboards in the longer term. New Tigers coach Andy Grauwels is now working with the 4-way Open Class team to accomplish the ultimate goal in Formation Skydiving competition.
Paraclete XP Indoor 2023
The biggest obstacle for Qatar is the U.S. delegation, who has been dominating the same two most traditional events since last year, in 4-way (Arizona Airspeed) and in 8-way since 2012 (Golden Knights/Paraclete).
The U.S. teams in 4-way Women are consistently in or near medal positions, as well, while Qatar's delegation does not include a team in 4-way Women.
The Qatar Falcons, with French coach Jeremie Rollett, may have hoped that the new U.S. lineup of XPGK8 would need some time until they would be back to the same 8-way top level, as the NSL News reported yesterday. The Qatar Falcons would then have the opportunity to get closer to the reigning world champions. These potential hopes faded at the Paraclete XP Indoor Championship 2023 when XPGK8 finished on an even higher average level than the previous lineup at the same event a year ago.
Paraclete XP Indoor 2023
|4||SDC Rhythm XP||US||20||23||25||52||19||32||23||25||30||27||276||27.6|
|7||Skydive Midwest NEXT||US||19||20||19||45||18||32||19||18||26||24||240||24.0|
|13||SNE Fly Girls||US||10||15||16||36||12||17||15||14||20||14||169||16.9|
Neither the results at the USPA Nationals 2022, where the Tigers competed without their new coach, nor the outdoor world championship and the indoor competition at Paraclete XP seem to offer any weaknesses of the current world leader in 4-way Open, Arizona Airspeed. Both Qatar national teams ended up further behind the U.S. teams than at previous events.
In fact, both U.S. teams maintained their performance and scoring level despite additional challenges on their end. As all 8-way teams, XPGK8 had to perform five new blocks and one new random formation with the new lineup at Paraclete XP. The U.S. team scored even higher than last year, while the Qatar Falcons finished below their 2022 results (258 - 246). Arizona Airspeed were dealing with Niklas Hemlin's recovery after a knew surgery and had Andrew Happick in the lineup for three rounds. Airspeed still finished an average-point higher than last year at Paraclete, as well.
The Qatar delegation will not get much help from the U.S. teams, as it seems, and the teams have to look for other ways how to catch up. The new plans for Cheetahs and Lions are probably a step on the way. The two Qatar farm teams were not at Paraclete XP. Maroon and White were the members of the Falcons 8-way team enjoying the competition in 4-way, as well.