Nearly 40 athletes from 10 countries will compete in Hasselt, Belgium, this weekend (24-25 October), as anticipation continues to build for the 2015 IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport World Championships.
The competition is the final opportunity for athletes to put the finishing touches to their couples and singles dances, before the Worlds get underway in Rome, Italy, from 6-8 November.
Slovenian world No.1 couple Barbara Samperl and Klemen Pirman headline the combi standard class 2.
They will be using Hasselt as an opportunity to finesse their technique before they meet the Russian pairing of Irina Gordeeva and Alexander Lyapin, who have been in form this season by taking victory over Samperl and Pirman on more than one occasion.
Austria’s world No.3 Miriam Labus and Patrick Berger will dance in the duo standard class 2 as the favourites, in the absence of Russia’s Aleksandra Berdnik and Sergey Antonov and Gordeeva and Lyapin who are ranked first and second respectively.
Over in the combi standard class 1, Slovakians Helena Kasicka and Peter Vidasic make their season debut just in time to attempt to retain their world title from 2013.
Rounding off the couples events are a strong Italian team of eight dancers competing across dances and classes, aiming to make an impact on their competitors.
In the singles events, hosts Belgium’s medal hopes could be realised by world ranked No.4 Sofie Cox in the women’s single freestyle class 2.
However Cox will face two Italians – Giulia Bonomo and Mariangela Correale – as they prepare to compete in from of their home crowds in just two weeks’ time.
The 2015 IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport World Championships will take place in Rome, Italy, between 6-8 November 2015.
The competition, organised by the Italian Dance Sport Federation (FIDS), is expected to attract more than 150 athletes from nearly 25 countries and will be hosted at the Bocciodromo.