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Did You Know...

... that Great Britain still doesn't have a national 4-way team for the Open Class?

Bodyflight Storm
posted Dec 5th, 2007 - The NSL News received another update from the United Kingdom, and it was related to the situation of the British national teams for the 2008 season. Two female line-ups, Bodyflight Storm and Team Elan, took the first two places at this year's UK Nationals. The NSL News had covered this competition extensively with previews and several follow-up stories.

Bodyflight Storm, with Hannah Betts (Center Inside), Claire Scott (Center Outside), Sarah Smith (Point), Kate Stephens (Tail) and Gary Wainwright (Camera), won the gold medals and qualified as the national team for the 2008 season.

Team Elan of 2007
Storm decided later that the team would rather compete in IPC's female 4-way category and defend the UK gold medals, as the NSL News reported on 11 October 2007. The slot as the British national 4-way team in the Open Class remained open.

Team Elan, with Emma Beyer, Julia Foxwell, Tarnya Hollis, Amanda Kemp and Steve Robinson (camera) in the 2007 line-up, was officially the next in line as the winner of the silver medals in 2007. However, the team did not commit instantly to compete as UK's national 4-way team in 2008.

The NSL News now received an update from Tarnya Hollis who had joined Team Elan at the beginning of the 2007 season.

Interview with Team Elan members in April 2007
The United Kingdom still remains without an official national 4-way team in the FAI/IPC Open Class. Team Elan decided to step back and leave the slot open. In fact, the British silver medalist of 2007 discontinues, and the team members go their own ways from here on, as Tarnya Hollis confirmed:

"Well, I'm sad to say that after much deliberation we have decided to decline the offer to represent Great Britain at the World Championship of Formation Skydiving in France next year."

Lack of funding is the main obstacle for the former Elan line-up to pursue a team career in the Open Class. The British Parachute Association (BPA) supports its national teams financially. However, there are guidelines and benchmarks for this financial support, and they materialize in scoring averages.

Team Elan in action
image by: Mike McGowan
Tarnya Hollis said that her former team qualified for BPA funding in the female category, which was already taken by Bodyflight Storm.

The team did not reach BPA's qualification level for funding in the Open Class and had to give up. The team members did not have the resources any longer to continue without adequate financial help, as Tarnya Hollis explained:

"The reason behind the team's decision is purely down to not obtaining the funding that we had hoped to secure to enable us to train as much as we would have wanted. Although we qualified for funding in the women's category, we missed out on funding from the BPA in the Open Class. Unfortunately, after many years in the sport, our personal finances have finally dried up!"

Team Elan at the World Challenge 2007
Team Elan was actually motivated to move on and continue with the same efforts or even more. The challenge of the Open Class competition would have required at least the same training if the team was aiming at a respectable showing at the World Meet 2008 in France:

"The team decided as a whole that if we were to represent Great Britain in the Open Class, we would want to throw everything at it. As it stood, with our limited funds we wouldn't be able to do that."

Team Elan disbanded as a result of the recent decision, and the team members are making new plans: "As a team we have decided to pursue separate ventures too. It's been a fantastic journey for all of us over the past three years, and we have had loads of fun."

UK bronze medalist 2007: Aardvark Zulu
The names of the team members will most likely come up again in the NSL News. Emma Beyer continues with her windtunnel team "Aeon", which was already covered several times by the NSL News.

Julia Foxwell has already started the new 4-way team "Sartori". Tarnya Hollis and Amanda Kemp are currently doing a lot of coaching, and they also see the possibility of new team projects on the horizon. The former team's videographer, Rob Stevenson, is still working at Skydive Sebastian in Florida.

Only the future of the British national 4-way team in the Open Class next year seems to be open still. Team Aardvark Zulu (Aaron Faith, Nick Lupton, Liz Matthews, Ian Matthews and Colin Bridges on camera) finished in 3rd place at the UK Nationals 2007 and is now on the top of the British list for the Open Class. The NSL News will follow up on this topic.

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