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IFCS World Championships Getting Underway

The US team arrived safe and sound in Picassent on Wednesday night, following weather delays en route to Spain for some members. With flight cancellations out of Detroit, and delays from Texas . . .

The US team arrived safe and sound in Picassent on Wednesday night, following weather delays en route to Spain for some members. With flight cancellations out of Detroit, and delays from Texas, four team members found themselves rerouted and/or significantly delayed, with some delays up to 24 hours. Dogs were with their handlers throughout the ordeal, and everyone arrived in Madrid in time to begin the drive to Valencia on Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday the team visited the event site, officially registered and took its one hour practice slot on the training field. The outdoor surface, one perhaps best described as a packed, sand/caliche mix found in the region's terrain, was expressed as acceptable by seasoned competitors, expressing, "It's not grass, but it's better than carpet -- the footing isn't bad -- it will be fine." Their main focus was on the obstacles, which provided varied qualities between the two rings; dogs and handlers seemed to adapt well during their warm-up sessions, though the judges continued to explore options to provide the most consistent transition possible between the two rings.

The 2004 IFCS World Championships are scheduled to get under way in just a few hours, with the opening ceremonies scheduled for 9:30a.m. Valencia time. Opening event will be the Power & Speed class, with Kenneth Tatsch (USDAA) judging. The class is a non-championship class and will provide an opportunity for teams to jump in and work out some anxiety before heading into the first of three championship classes later in the day. The schedule for the day will be:

9:30 am - Opening Ceremony

9:45 am - Power & Speed, judged by Kenneth Tatsch

11:30 am - Individual Standard Agility Championships, judged by Hisato Tanabe of Japan

1:30 pm - Individual Gamblers Championsihps, judged by Steve Drinkwater of Australia

3:30 pm - Individual Biathlon Championships, judged by Francisco Alegre of Spain (scores to be combined with Saturday's Standard Agility - Biathlon class)

5:00 pm - Sled Dogs Demonstrations

Following the day's events, a gala banquet will be held, with 126 in attendance.

Saturday will open with a non-championship event -- USDAA's Dog Agility Steeplechase? qualifying Round 1, judged by Kenneth Tatsch of USA. IFCS regulations permit the host country to offer one class not outlined in IFCS regulations. FEAEC, host organization, chose USDAA's Dog Agility Steeplechase in order to afford others in Europe a chance to qualify for USDAA's CYNOSPORT? games in November. FEAEC began conducting qualifiers in 2003 in Spain.

Following the STEEPLECHASE, Biathlon competition continues with the individual standard agility class, judged by Hisato Tanabe and will be combined with Friday's jumping class to determine the final standings. The afternoon will include the Individual Snooker Agility Championships, judged by Kenneth Tatsch and the Individual Jumping Championships, judged by Franciso Alegre. The day concludes with a herding dogs demonstration.

Sunday is reserved for the Team Triathlon Championships, with each member country fielding a three-dog/three sportsmen team to compete in Standard Agility, Jumping and Three-Dog relay. These include Austria, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Russia, Spain and USA. Also participating in the event are competitors from Germany and Cuba. Standard Agility and Jumping will start the day, with 2nd round of the Dog Agility Steeplechase taking place before the final class of the weekend - the three-dog relay. Scores from the Standard, Jumping and Relay will be combined for final championship standings. The event is scheduled to conclude at 2:00 pm Sunday.


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