With less than a month until the 2018 European Championships, dancers will get to polish their routines at the latest World Para Dance Sport World Cup from Friday (12 October) in Kosice, Slovakia.
Belgium’s Sofie Cox and Germany’s Pamela Heymanns can continue their momentum from their victories at last week’s Beigang Open in Chinese Taipei.
For Cox, Kosice was the site of the 2016 European Championships, where she missed the podium twice in both women’s singles standard and freestyle class 2 events. This year the Belgian has seemed even more determined to avoid that disappointment, as she heads into her fifth international competition of the year.
She will be confident in Kosice after winning her first gold medal of 2018, the singles standard in Beigang. She just missed out on a second win in the freestyle, which went to Heymanns.
Heymanns’ achievement in Beigang was her first career victory, and the 57-year-old will see if she can repeat the feat on European soil.
Home favourites Maria Dutkova and Maria Gazdikova; as well as Austria’s multi-world and European medallist Sanja Vukasinovic, are among the other competitors in the women’s singles events who can impress the judges.
Homecoming for couples
Dutkova and Gazdikova can expect home support especially in the combi dances, as both performed memorable medal victories on the same floor two years ago.
For Dutkova and her standing partner Martin Solc, the reigning European bronze medallists will seek to perfect their combi freestyle 2 routine. They also captured bronze in the standard discipline at the 2017 World Championships so expect the Slovakians to be dancing towards another podium spot.
In the class 1 equivalent, Gazdikova and her standing partner Maros Olejar graced their home floor to claim two European medals (silver in freestyle and bronze in standard) in 2016. This weekend’s competition will be important for them as they look to upgrade those finishes next month at the Euros in Lomianki, Poland.
They can expect strong competition from Finnish couple Tuuli Harju and Timo Pyykkonen, who are having an excellent season with medals in the freestyle and standard in all three of their competitions this year.
The 2018 Kosice World Cup runs until Sunday (14 October), and the 2018 European Championships follows from 9-11 November.