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First, strong winds and low clouds did not allow much training for the 4way teams. The clouds disappeared eventually, however, the stronger winds kept most of the teams on the ground. Craig Girard used the opportunity to recruit a high-profile group of experienced competitors who could handle the weather conditions and practice for the 40way celebration jump that the NSL News mentioned earlier.
The members of the top teams in Dubai (Aerodyne Aerokart, NMP-PCH Hayabusa, Perris Fury, SDC Rhythm XP) and a few more hand picked individuals (Eliana Rodriguez, Max Thiele) followed Craig Girard's call for action and built a 21way. Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was not available for the bigway practice and will join the 40way later.
Teams were running to still catch their planes and had to go back to waiting mode when they had missed them or were too early. The two top contenders from France and Belgium found themselves in the same situations several times and also shared the jump plane quite a few times, whether in the 21 way or in 4way. Max Thiele said that both teams were great sports and very friendly with each other, as usual, and will surely be more competitive beginning tomorrow.
The new French Deep Blue Defenders, with only Amelie Tirman in the lineup to defend the gold medals of 2010, have not trained much after the last personnel change only a few months ago. However, Max Thiele said that the team members still feel very competitive. That's no surprise after the 3way did have a great start at the World Cup 2011 where new and latest member Stephanie Texier was the alternate.
Max Thiele expects a tight competition in the female 4way category, too: "They are four very strong and experienced competitors, it's quite impressive. Sure, they don't have much training together at all and cannot be perfect. However, I still believe that it will not only be very exciting in the 4way Open Class..."
He also reported a story that included the Irish national 4way team Fast Air. Coach Shannon Pilcher arrived later and was still enjoying a jet-lagged breakfast in the hotel when the team left to get ready for the training day. Shannon Pilcher organized his own ride to the desert DZ after breakfast and was now looking for the Irishmen. He could not find them since they went to the palm tree island location. Eventually, team and coach found each other at the same place two hours later and could resume the training together.
Wednesday was also a training day for the Accuracy competitors, at least in the afternoon, while the Canopy Pilots were only on stand-by all day long.
The opening ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday evening, and the participants and visitors are expecting a great show.