‘I feel we need more recognition’, Yermain Fernandez

Winner of the second Online Competition, the Mexican star hopes to inspire more Para dancers to follow his passion for the sport 20 Apr 2022
Image of a male Para dancer in his wheelchair
Jesus Yermain Fernandez Angeles of Mexico won the second Online Challenge in 2021
ⒸIrina Nevolina
By Aurore Gander | For World Para Dance Sport

The third edition of the Online Competition is underway giving Para dancers from over the world the opportunity to compete in a different and entertaining format. An athlete who knows quite well how to explore every opportunity to show his talent and promote his sport is Mexico’s Jesus Yermain Fernandez.

The winner of the second Online Challenge in 2021 and a four-time medallist at World Championships, Yermain discovered Para dance sport more than a decade ago after watching an exhibition in Mexico City.

Love at first sight

“I was struck by the power to execute it, as [it felt] one of the things I wanted to do in my daily life. Then the personal and professional aspects of my life came together,” he said. 

For him, Para dance is more than a sport, but also something that helps him in his everyday life, even in his movements with his wheelchair.

Yermain has already represented Mexico in three editions of the World Championships, making his debut in 2015 in Rome. 

In the Italian capital, he impressed the adjudicators with his hip-hop performance to take gold in the men’s freestyle class. 

“Basically, the freestyle category [is my favourite], and I'm more into street style, although I like to experiment in all areas and always present something new,” added the athlete who defended his gold two years later in Malle, Belgium.

Today, Yermain is also a hip-hop group director and a teacher. Dance became an important component of his professional and personal life through the years. 

When competitions went virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mexican star did not think twice. He was more than two years without competition and the Online Challenge provided a safe platform to be back to the international stage. 

Yermain finished in first place in the men’s single conventional class, six points ahead of his closer contestant, South Korea’s Jongchul Choi.

But now he sets his eyes at facing his opponents on-site again. Yermain is currently preparing to compete at the Kosice Para Dance Sport World Cup from 10 to 11 September in Slovakia.

“I much prefer on-site competitions, they are a completely different experience,” the Mexican said, naming a few points that make events so special for him:

“Being with the other participants, the adrenaline, the atmosphere, and above all the margin that is handled within the competitions with the judges and the friendship that exists between the countries.”

Fight for recognition

Yermain is thankful to his coach Maria Carmen Legaspi and all the team involved in Para dance sport. That is why one of his aims is to bring more recognition to the sport not only in his country but in Latin America and the whole world. 

“We want more countries in Latin America to join, for [Para dance] to be much more recognised, for it not to be so hidden,” he said. 

“I feel that it needs more recognition and that there should be more people in different disciplines. [I hope] To have good results and to have more opportunity for Latin America to become a powerhouse,” he added.

For those inspired by Yermain to join the sport, the Online Competition represents a great opportunity as it is open to new athletes no matter if licenced or not.

For more information about how to take part in the third Online Competition click here.