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It is not the first meet in 2011 for several of the Russian teams. Gradient Alpha, Black Cat, FS3 and Illusions attended the Dubai Championship 2011 in January. Black Cat followed up at the Valentine's Meet 2011 in February and at the Shamrock Showdown 2011. SportsLoto competed at the World Challenge 2011.
Gradient Alpha is probably the top contender since the team continues with the same lineup that posted the 21.4 average in Dubai. However, the new SportsLoto lineup, with former Kaktus Hunters Egor Gusev and Andrew Kharitonov in the center, plus the experienced Russian top competitors Yuri Drozdov and Dima Samochval, was showing with the 25.5 indoor average in Bedford that the team is ready to start above the 20-average level at an outdoor meet.
There is another new lineup that caught the NSL News attention and will surely catch the attention of the international female 4-way community. It is not really a completely new lineup, as three Illusions members posted the first scores in Dubai.
The Dubai lineup (Elena Chistova, Elena Mazaeva, Zhanna Kazakova, Maria Serova, Andrey Karin on camera) finished in 3rd place and took $10,000 back home to Russia.
|Dubai Championship 2011||Round1||Round2||Round3||Round4||Round5||Round6||Round7||Round8||Total||Avg|
|1||France Aerodyne Cypres||20||26||28||20||15||19||20||21||169||21.1|
|2||USA Alpha Armada||17||26||30||17||14||19||18||19||160||20.0|
|4||Spain Empuria Gatas||11||14||13||10||10||12||11||10||91||11.4|
|5||Denmark Lady Vikings||8||13||12||11||9||11||10||11||85||10.6|
Brother Andrew Kharitonov and sister Katya Kharitonova have now been separated after Kaktus Hunter disbanded at the end of the 2010 season. However, both siblings are in very competitive new lineups. Sportsloto will most likely compete for the top spot in Russia's Open Class competition, while Illusions has the potential to challenge the female top lineups in the world for the medal positions.
Elena Chistova has already several world meet medals in her collection, as the NSL News explained during the introduction of the three members in the story on 7 January 2011. She has not yet competed for Russia in the female 4-way category and has won enough bronze medals. She is most likely aiming at something else, together with her new female team mates...