A special surprise delighted the home crowd when multi-world and European champion Helena Kasicka graced the World Para Dance Sport World Cup on Sunday (14 October) in Kosice, Slovakia.
Having previously paired with standing partner Peter Vidasic to win titles across combi freestyle, Latin and standard events, Kasicka went solo on Sunday. The Slovakian’s victory in the women’s freestyle class 2 signified her intent to compete in November’s European Championships in Lominaki, Poland.
It was a fitting homecoming for the 32-year-old, whose last World Para Dance Sport performance was at that very venue in Kosice two years ago, where she won three European gold medals with Vidasic.
Kasicka’s return tightens the competition for runner-up Sanja Vukasinovic, whose sights are set on upgrading her silver from the 2016 Europeans. The Austrian was just a few details shy across the three judging criteria (technical skill, choreography and difficulty level). Belgium’s Sofie Cox rounded off the podium.
The freestyle disappointment did not stop Vukasinovic winning the women’s singles 2, a dance she won bronze in at the 2016 Europeans. Runner-up Maria Gazdikova claimed one of four medals in the competition, and Cox came in third.
More Slovakian success
Home fans had more to celebrate in the couples competitions, with their dancers going one-two in the combi standard that combined classes 1 and 2. World Championship bronze medallists Maria Dutkova and standing partner Martin Solc won the event for the second time this year. They were the judges’ clear favourites in the tango, waltz, foxtrot and quickstep.
Gazdikova and partner Maros Olejar secured silver, putting them in a strong position to better their bronze medal from the last European Championships. Finland’s Tuuli Harji and Timo Pyykkonen completed the top three.
However, Kazakhstan’s Aidana Beglenova and Ardak Otorbayev were too much for the Slovakians in the combi freestyle 1 and 2. The 2017 Worlds bronze medallists were coming off second place from last week’s competition in Beigang, Chinese Taipei. They took top marks across all three judging criteria to win the gold. Dutkova and Solc came in second, followed by Gazdikova and Olejar.
The Kazakhs also won the combi Latin 1 and 2 over Gazdikova and Olejar; and Harji and Pyykkonen respectively.
Van Dorpe dazzles
Belgium’s Roswitha Van Dorpe was magnificent in the women’s singles and freestyle class 1, putting together winning routines to leave with double gold. Slovenia’s Nastija Fijolic and Finland’s Pirjo Pappila went two-three, respectively, in both events.
In the men’s singles freestyle 1 and 2 combined, Amir Alibabic was the victor. The class 1 Slovenia has shown continuing improvement since his World Championship silver medal from last year. Turkish dancers Ertoz Osman and Abdul Unal took silver and bronze, respectively.
Austria’s Robert Pleininger won the men’s singles 1 and 2, bettering Otorbayev. Unal took home his second bronze medal over the weekend.
Complete results from the Kosice 2018 World Cup are available on World Para Dance Sport’s website.
Next up is the 2018 European Championships from 9-11 November.