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The NSL News met with Gillian Winter, French IPC Delegate and President of the French Sporting Commission, at the World Cup 2005 in Eloy. Gillian Winter is also the Chair of the IPC's Technical & Safety Committee and Advisor to the IPC's Canopy Formation Committee.
She explained in October 2005 what needed to be done to prepare the ESL participation in 2006. The discussion with the ESL organizers and the preparations in France were successful. Gillian Winter provided the NSL News with an update last month, which confirmed that France is ready to join the league network for the 2006 season:
The NSL News stories on April 5 and April 12 covered the comeback of three former French 4-way world champions of Team Maubeuge and explained that the French Cup event on July 28 - 30 in Vannes will also be the French championship event and the qualifyer for the World Meet 2006.
This situation makes the French ESL participation all the more exciting. The final French Cup event and French Championship 2006, including the qualifyer for the World Meet, are now a part of the NSL/ESL network, and the NSL News will cover as much of the action in France as possible.
However, she added that the French Federation has decided to select the French FS 4-way team at the French Nationals 2006, which will be held in July in Vannes. The French national team in France's "National 1 category" will be sanctioned for the World Meet 2006 only if the team averages 18 points or higher at the July competition.
The French Federation also defined very specifically that the national 4-way team of the Open Class for the World Meet 2006 is only sanctioned for the time period between the end of the French Nationals 2006 and the conclusion of the World Meet 2006 in Germany.
The team that wins this year's qualifyer in July and then represents France in Germany has additional rules to follow, set by the French Federation, as Gillian Winter explains:
"The selected 4-way Open Class team must jump with equipment provided by the following suppliers: Performance Designs, Sunpath, Vigil and Parasport. Fully rigged parachutes can be provided by the French Federation for the event in Germany, but jumpsuits and helmets are responsibility of the team. The sanctioned 4-way team will be part of the French delegation as the official national 4-way team, and it will be under the responsibility of the French Head of Delegation. The registration fees for the 2006 World Championships will be paid for by the French Parachute Federation."
However, the French Nationals 2006, including the qualifyer for the World Meet, add some extra excitement to the first participation of French teams in the 4-way league network. Three competitions are officially scheduled and included in the ESL/NSL calendar, which are the three French Cup events at the same time: June 3-4, July 14-16 and July 28-30.
"I was surprised to discover that more competitions was not what the French competitors wanted when I took on this role as the Chair of the French Sporting Committee. Joining the ESL adds a new dimension for our competitors without increasing the number of competitions, and they are all looking forward to the additional challenge of comparing their skills with their European counterparts."
The French teams will not only be able to compare their skills with the European counterparts. The full synchronization of the dive pools and competition rules between ESL and NSL have allowed teams from all over the world to compare their scores directly with each other on a regular basis.
French national coach Jerome David mentioned already earlier that France also plans to send at least one team to the ESL Championship 2006, which is scheduled for September 8-10 in Spa, Belgium.
Gillian Winter finished her recent update for the NSL News with an outlook into the 2007 season: " Next year we will again hold national championships, and they will be our 50th anniversary. So we plan to make it a special meet."
The NSL News welcomes the French 4-way teams to the network and looks forward to publishing exciting scores, news stories, pictures and meet videos of the events in France.