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Did You Know...

... that the Illusions are probably not aiming at the bronze medals?

Black Cat at the Valentine's Meet 2011
posted Apr 30th, 2011 - The Russian 4-way community launches the 2011 season this weekend on home turf. As last year, the skydiving center in Kolomna is once again hosting the first meet of the year, and it is a very competitive field of teams that will be posting the first scores this weekend.

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.

Illusions at the Dubai Championship 2011
It will also be interesting to see at which level Russia's 4-way champion of 2009, Black Cat, currently performs after three earlier meets this year. Former 8-way world champions Vasiliy Korotkov, Alexey Minaev and Evgeniy Stashscenko carefully prepare new member Valery Pripilyak for the 4-way top level, and each meet has shown progression so far. The new Black Cat lineup will probably arrive at the 20-point level very soon.

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 2011Round1Round2Round3Round4Round5Round6Round7Round8TotalAvg
RankFemale 4-wayP,17,18M,N,F,3H,A,6,BQ,1,C,144,10,1516,O,J,22K,2,E,11G,9,8TotalAvg
1France Aerodyne Cypres20 26 28 20 15 19 20 21 16921.1
2USA Alpha Armada17 26 30 17 14 19 18 19 16020.0
3Russia Illusions16 21 22 15 17 17 17 13416.8
4Spain Empuria Gatas11 14 13 10 10 12 11 10 9111.4
5Denmark Lady Vikings13 12 11 11 10 11 8510.6
8-way bronze medals for Russia in 2004
Three Illusions members of the Dubai lineup (Elena Chistova, Zhanna Kazakova, Maria Serova) decided to continue, and former Kaktus Hunter Katya Kharitonova is now flying the Point slot.

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...

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