2021 recap: the year competitions returned and Para dance sport went virtual

A lookback at a season full of emotions and surprises when new stars broke through and world champions showed fine form 19 Dec 2021
A male wheelchair dancer holding a female wheelchair dancer on his lap
Ukraine topped the medals table as Genoa saw 82 athletes in action in the first World Cup in almost two years in June
By World Para Dance Sport

The year of 2021 will be remembered as the season Para dance sport returned during the COVID-19 pandemic and also the year the sport went virtual. 

January 2021 saw the launch of the first Freestyle & Showdance Online Competition. Nearly 100 participants from 19 nations joined the virtual event organised by World Para Dance Sport.

Athletes submitted videos of their performances to a panel of international adjudicators in seven categories. The Online Competition was also open to Para dancers who were not licensed or registered – including power wheelchair users. 

More than 50 per cent of the participants were new athletes, with Australia and Spain taking part for the first time. The winners were revealed in April, coming from Brazil, Finland, Mexico, Russia and The Philippines. 

Two months later it was time for Para dance sport to go back to competition mode with Genoa, Italy hosting a three-day-long World Cup. It was the first international event since the Bonn 2019 World Championships in Germany.

The Italian was set to host the European Championships in 2020 which ended up cancelled due to the pandemic. The long wait was rewarded with extraordinary performances from some of the world’s best.

Ukraine topped the medals table led by Bonn 2019 world champions Ivan Sivak and Olena Chynka.

Russian world champions Igor Davydov and Galina Ryzkhova also excelled claiming three victories each.


In August Para dance sport reached a new milestone with its first-ever official event in Czech Republic. South Korea dominated the Prague International with 11 gold medals in the two days of competition.

The Combi Standard 1 & 2 had a Korean one-two podium with Juhee Hwang and Jaeung Son beating reigning world champions Hye-Jeong Jang and Jeongbu Bae.

Neighbours Slovakia also triumphed with world champion Helena Kasicka in fine form taking golds in individual and combi events.

One of the most traditional Para dance sport competitions, the Polish Open returned to Lomianki during two days in October. The Philippines’ Edelyn de Asis shone the brightest with four gold medals in three single and one duo. 

Ukraine’s Illona Slugovyna and Valeriy Bevzyuk also triumphed in four events each

Lomianki was meant to be the last event before the World Championships in Ulsan, but the South Korean city had to cancel the event due to restrictions to curb the new COVID-19 surge. 


In November, World Para Dance Sport celebrated the second anniversary of its biggest World Championships to date releasing a special video showcasing South Korea’s Hye-Jeong Jang and Jeongbu Bae – Bonn 2019 duo Combi standard 1 gold medallists. 

The 2021 season wrapped up in December as it had begun 11 months earlier, as 65 athletes from 12 countries joined the second edition of the Online Competition. 

Mexico won three categories, while Brazil, Chinese Taipei, Denmark Israel, Kazakhstan, Russia, Slovenia and South Korea also triumphed.

More information about the 2021 season can be found on the links below.