Beigang 2019: Para dance sport Worlds hots up after surprises in Chinese Taipei

Rivalry emerges between Filipino and Russian dancers after close results 25 Sep 2019
Man in wheelchair dancing with standing partner
Svetlana Kukushkina and Maksim Sedakov have been a winning combination at Beigang 2019 and the 2019 Continents Cup
ⒸVladimir Toropov
By World Para Dance Sport

The contest has heated up even more for the 2019 World Para Dance Sport Championships in November after surprising results from the Beigang Open in Chinese Taipei over the weekend.

Pressure is on for Filipino sweethearts Rhea Marquez and Julius Obero to perfect their combi freestyle performance ahead of the 2019 Worlds. In Beigang, the defending class 2 world champions took silver behind Russia’s Svetlana Kukushkina and Maksim Sedakov by mere points. 

The Russian couple were stronger across all three judging criteria: technical skill, choreography and difficulty. Kukushkina and Sedakov missed out on the 2017 Worlds in Malle, Belgium. But their outstanding victory in Beigang showed they are a true threat to Marquez and Obero’s world title. 

Sedakov also added a solo gold medal, winning the men’s freestyle, class 1 and 2 combined. It was his second victory in the discipline this year, following up on the St. Petersburg Continents Cup earlier this month.

Rhea Marquez and Julius Obero are looking to defend their titles at Bonn 2019


Stunning Slovakian

Perhaps it was not a surprise anymore to see Helena Kasicka win the women’s singles freestyle in the class 1 category. 

The Slovakian, who is better known for dancing in couples events – she won two titles at her last World Championships four years ago in Rome, Italy – returned from retirement last season. Her victory in the freestyle singles at the 2018 European Championships was a statement that she intends to return for this year’s Worlds in Bonn, Germany. 

And she also intends to win gold there. 

Kasicka barely edged Belgium’s Sofie Cox for the top of the podium in Beigang. 

However, it was a surprise to see the 33-year-old Slovakian give the combi freestyle a go. It turned out to be a success, as she won with new standing partner Stefan Stropko. 

The duo could not, however, top the podium in the combi Latin 1, finishing behind South Korea’s Youngseon Park and Changwoo Han.

Helena Kasicka and former dancer partner Peter Vidasic are world and European champions


Setting the standard

South Korea saw even more success in Beigang.

Hye-jeong Jang and Jeong-bu Bae added to their golden collection from the St. Petersburg Continents Cup by winning the combi standard 1 again in Beigang. 

Jang has also been impressive by herself, dancing to gold in the women’s singles standard class 1 – another event she won in St. Petersburg.

With her toughest rival not competing in Beigang, Russia’s Aleksandra Berdnik enjoyed ownership of the women’s class 2 equivalent. Her victory will go a long way as she is expected to battle compatriot and 2015 world champion Galina Ryzhkova at the upcoming Worlds.

Hye-jeong Jang has been brilliant in couples and singles dances in 2019 so far


The Beigang Para Dance Sport Open took place from 20-22 September and complete results can be found on World Para Dance Sport’s website.

The last event before the Bonn 2019 World Para Dance Sport Championships is the Polish Open from 2-4 October in Lomianki.