With just days to go until the start of the biggest ever International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Wheelchair Dance World Championships in Hannover, Germany, many are predicting a close fought contest in front of a sell-out crowd.
With more than 150 dancers from 21 countries descending on Hannover this weekend (6-7 November), competition for medals is expected to be tight with a number of defending World and European champions taking to the floor.
And, according to Grethe Andersen, Chairperson of the IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport Technical Committee, the capacity crowd in Hannover is in for a real treat this weekend.
Grethe Andersen said: “We have some very strong couples from around the world taking part which will make for a superb few days in Hannover. It’s very difficult to predict who will win and the judges will certainly have their work cut out.
“What’s most pleasing though is that more and more countries are getting involved in the sport each year. As a result we have our biggest ever World Championships and I expect the capacity crowd will certainly have a great few days watching the best dancers in the world compete.”
This weekend’s event has been sold-out since July which Andersen believes is not only down to Germany’s love of dance sport but the rise in popularity of dance programmes on television.
“It doesn’t harm does it having so many programmes on TV,” said Anderson. “I think this shows that dance is growing in every country because these fantastic programmes are getting more airtime. It’s also helping grow the sport and this year we have a number of new countries taking part.
“In Germany though dance sport always attracts a lot of people and it is fantastic that it has been sold out for months in Hannover.
“The audience is in for a real treat as the dancing will be so terrific they won’t be able to believe their eyes.”
At the last IPC Wheelchair Dance World Championships in Minsk, Belarus in 2008 Russia topped the medal table with three gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
A total of eight gold medals are up for grabs this weekend in Hannover in two styles – Duo and Combi. Duo style will see both dancers use wheelchairs, whilst Combi sees one dancer use a wheelchair and the partner is able-bodied and stood.