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Did You Know...

... that the top teams have a busy international schedule in 2009?

posted Jan 10th, 2008 - The Italian 4-way fans and visitors of the NSL website have probably already noticed that there were a few changes of the 2008 schedule. The April meet in Casale is now scheduled for the April 12/13 weekend. The May meet in Fano has been moved to the earlier weekend on May 24/25.

Italy's IPC delegate Sara Sacchet provided the NSL News with the update of the schedule. The 2008 season offers the first 4-way event series for the Italian 4-way teams, with a fully synchronized dive pool and competition draw for the AAA, AA and A Classes of the international NSL 4-way network.

Sara Sacchet added that the situation in Italy is still unchanged concerning the selection of the country's national 4-way team for the World Championship of Formation Skydiving in France this year. The Italian federation (FIPaS) has not come to a decision yet. The next meeting of Italian FIPaS officials is coming up soon, and the NSL News will follow up on the topic.

The upcoming meeting of the International Parachuting Commission (IPC) in Paris, France, on 22 - 27 January 2008 will not only be interesting for the 4-way and 8-way community due to the discussion of rules, including half-speed judging. The IPC will also decide whether Formation Skydiving competition will be a part of the next World Air Games (WAG).

The World Air Games 2009 will be the 3rd edition of the FAI sanctioned event (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale). The first two events were held in Turkey 1997 and Spain 2001. The World Championship of Formation Skydiving was a part of the World Air Games at both events.

However, the FAI was not satisfied with the outcome of the events and discontinued with the formerly applied format: "After two editions of the World Air Games, FAI decided that the initial concept used in 1997 (Turkey) and 2001 (Spain) was unlikely to allow the goals set for the World Air Games to be achieved."

The FAI defined its own Olympic Games according to the early goals: "The FAI worked for the last decade on emulating the concept of the modern Olympiad for its air sports. Quadrennial, elite and multidisciplinary competitions bringing together the world's best in flight for the celebration of a unique sports festival: The World Air Games (WAG)."

The World Air Games took an 8-year break after the 2001 event. The FAI evaluated the previous events and developed a new concept. Sports marketing consultants recommended to put quality over quantity. Goal is to have fewer venues in closer proximity and fewer athletes of higher performance levels in the future. The events are supposed to be shorter but more innovative and attractive.

The 3rd World Air Games will take place in Turin, Italy, in 2009. The Parachuting events will include Freestyle, Style & Accuracy, Canopy Formation and Canopy Piloting, according to the current plans. However, Sara Sacchet mentioned that the IPC delegates will re-consider the WAG 2009 participation of Parachuting at the upcoming meeting. Formation Skydiving competition may replace the classical Style competition.

There is an obstacle in the way for Formation Skydiving competition to be included in the World Air Games 2009. The event collides with another international multi-sports event, the World Games, which will be held in Taiwan next year. The IPC has chosen Formation Skydiving, Canopy Piloting and Freestyle as the Parachuting events for the World Games 2009.

The World Games are also held every four years and include not only air sports. The event has a close relationship to the official Olympic Games, as Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), confirms this status:

"By signing a cooperation agreement with the International World Games Association, the International Olympic Committee recognizes the important role The World Games play as a multi-sport event. In particular, this event provides participating athletes with the opportunity to join with their countrymen and countrywomen from other sports, in the Olympic spirit, and compete as part of a national team at the highest level."

Olympic Games - World Games - World Air Games - World Championship - World Cup, it is not easy for the FAI and IPC representatives to keep focus on all events and coordinate them with each other. The participation of Formation Skydiving teams at the World Air Games 2009 in Turin came back into the discussion due to the weather situation in Italy at this time of the year, as the agenda for the upcoming IPC meeting prepares for the discussion:

Event site in Turin, Italy
"Unfortunately, weather conditions in Turin in the summer mean that Style is not a good event to hold and we have been asked to reconsider the events to be included with a specific request to include Formation Skydiving."

The 2009 season is an off-year for the World Championship of Formation Skydiving, the most relevant event in this discipline. However, it will obviously still be a very busy year for the best teams in the world. World Games, World Air Games and World Cup might send them all around the world.

The Italian hosts of the World Air Games 2009 will run a test event this year in Turin, which is scheduled for May 31 - June 2. It will probably show how the weather conditions work out for the chosen disciplines. However, the decision whether it will be Formation Skydiving competition or Style might already be made by then.

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