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Did You Know...

... that French teams will join the 4-way network for the 2006 season?

French national coach Jerome David
posted May 3rd, 2006 - The NSL News story on March 8 mentioned that France was planning to join the 4-way league network this year. The NSL has discussed a possible cooperation with the French national coach, Jerome David, for quite a while, while European Skydiving League manager Willy Boeykens and other ESL organizers prepared the first ESL season in France with the French Parachute Federation.

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:

Gillian Winter
"As mentioned in Eloy last October, France is at last joining the ESL. The three competitions in the ESL calendar are the events of our French Cup. This year we are not holding Nationals, but each discipline (Formation Skydiving, Style/Accuracy, etc..) will have a French Cup final competition, which will also be the championship event this year."

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.

French delegation at the Mondial 2003
Gillian Winter provided more details of the French qualification rules for the World Meet in Germany. First of all, she confirmed once again what national coach Jerome David had already emphasized before: the French strategy as of Formation Skydiving competition was defined in January 2005 and aims for gold medals only in the 8-way and 4-way female events at the World Meet 2006.

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.

French 4-way team at the World Meet in Croatia 2006
The French national team of the Open Class this year will also not be given the status of "Athl├Ęte de Haut Niveau Senior", the highest support level for French athletes. However, this elite status may still be earned in November 2006 should the team win the World Championship of Formation Skydiving 2006. The November 2006 date is set for the final selection of the new French national teams. The group of candidates for the elite status will be reduced to the final team members in November.

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."

Possible French 4-way 2006 line-up
It is obvious that the French Federation supports the French 2006 team in the Open Class only temporarily. The official training and selection process, which is managed and supervised by national coach Jerome David, continues as planned and supported by the French 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.

ESL Organizer Willy Boeykens
Gillian Winter explained the benefits that she sees for French skydiving competition by participating in the league network:

"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.

Participants of the ESL Championship 2005
The first competition in France on June 3-4 will be held together with 4-way events in Texas, Midwest and Colorado. The meet in France on July 14-16 has teams from the Northwest, Mideast, Carolina, Midwest, MidAtlantic, Florida, Southwest and also in Brazil competing at the same time. Finally, the French Nationals 2006 in Vannes on July 28-30 will take place while other teams from the United Kingdom, Finland and the Blue Sky Ranch will compete, as well. All these dates can be found at the NSL Calendar of Events 2006.

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.

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