"Nearly 200 dancers from 17 countries have entered into the couples competition and around 60 will compete in the new disciplines of singles and freestyle."
The IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport Continents Cup, one of the most prestigious competitions in the calendar, will start on Saturday (13 September) in the final build-up to November’s European Championships and the 2014 Asian Para Games.
The event will be livestreamed at www.paralympic.org.
Nearly 200 dancers from 17 countries have entered into the couples competition and around 60 will compete in the new disciplines of singles and freestyle.
Amongst those competing in the conventional events will be the hosts’ world champions Gulnaz Akbasheva and partner Vitalii Morozov.
Currently ranked as world No.1 in the combi standard class 2, their teammates and No.2 coupling of Irina Gordeeva and Alexander Lyapin will be challenging them for the coveted win.
Gordeeva and Lyapin also currently sit as No. 1 in the duo standard class 2 ahead of third placed Austrians Brigitte Kroell and Werner Kaiser.
Kroell and Kaiser have enjoyed a great 2014 season so far, finishing in the top three in IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport competitions in Germany, Russia and Serbia having only debuted in 2013.
Meanwhile Slovakian combi standard class 1 world champions Helen Kasicka and Peter Vidasic currently lie just 11 points behind the absent Kazakhstan couple of Aidana Beglenova and Aradak Otarbyev.
Any gains they can make in St Petersburg will be valuable in their quest to finish top of the rankings and polish their technique before the 2014 IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport European Championships take place in Lomianki, Poland, from 8-9 November.
With one eye on the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea, from 18-24 October, Korean’s Moonjung Choi and Joonyoung Park will also make the journey to St Petersburg.
Currently ranked in the top 10 in both the duo Latin class 2 and combi standard class 2, they are amongst the best dancers their country has to offer and head into Incheon 2014 as the favourites.
In St Petersburg athletes will also have the opportunity to enter singles and freestyle competitions for the very first time.
The singles event will allow entrants to dance alone, with their dance judged on rhythm and technical skills, as well as musicality, performance and charisma.
The freestyle event will allow athletes to have more creative freedom over their dances, with dances judged according to their technical skills, choreography and presentation, and difficulty level.
Dancers will begin on Saturday (13 September) with duo Latin, combi standard and men’s singles events. Sunday (14 September) will feature the new events of freestyle and women’s singles and Monday 15 September will see athletes competing in combi Latin and duo standard.
The Continents Cup which runs until Monday (15 September) marks the start of a busy final few months of the year for dancers, with the IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport International Sport and Handicap Wheelchair Dance Cup (Belgium Open), taking place the following weekend from 27-28 September.
This is followed by Incheon 2014 and the European Championships, completing the 2014 calendar which has seen a record eight competitions take place.