Erik Machens magnificent in return

Former European champion wins pair of golds 03 Jun 2019
male wheelchair dancer poses for camera
Erik Machens won silver in the men's single class 2 at the 2016 European Championships
ⒸRoman Benicky
By World Para Dance Sport

Germany’s Erik Machens had a homecoming to remember, giving a performance worthy of double gold at the Mainhatten Cup that finished Sunday in Frankfurt.

The former European champion came onto his first international stage after one year. His routine in the men’s singles 2 grabbed all the judges’ top marks. Turkey’s Abdul Kadir Unal came in third, and Cyprus’ Gavriel Yiannakis rounded off the top three.

But new for Machens was gold in the singles freestyle. Having only competed in the event in 2014, the German showed his intent for adding freestyle to his programme ahead of his home 2019 World Championships in Bonn in November.

He was the favourite across technical skill, choreography and difficulty level. Cape Verde’s Marco Bontempo and Nilson Pires, respectively, completed the podium.

Polish pride

There was another surprise return to the dancefloor in former European champion couple Katarzyna Bloch and Marek Zaborowski. The Polish dancers took on the combi freestyle 2, an event they won gold at the 2016 Europeans. They were golden again over the weekend, dancing together for the first time since the 2017 World Championships in Malle, Belgium.

Slovakian dancers rounded off the top three: with Maria Dutkova and Martin Solc taking second; and their compatriots Maria Gazdikova and Maros Olejar in third.

Poland had more to celebrate with former swimmer Julia Sadkowska seeing her first career gold in the sport. The relatively newcomer made her name known at last year’s Europeans in November with bronze in the women’s single 1.

This time in Frankfurt, she put on a winning routine to take gold, followed by Belgium’s Roswitha van Dorpe and then Cyprus’ Maria Manakou.

More standouts

Finland’s Tuuli Harju and Timo Pyykkonen also enjoyed a golden weekend.

The 2018 European bronze medallists captured wins in the combi freestyle 1 and combi standard 1. They were also triumphant in the combi Latin 1.

Belgium’s Sofie Cox danced to a pair of golds in the women’s singles and freestyle 2.