Katarzyna Bloch gave home fans plenty to enjoy after dazzling at the Polish Open, which concluded on Sunday (17 June) in Lomianki.
The two-day competition was held at the same venue that will host November’s European Championships, and Bloch showed she will be a strong contender for regional titles after winning double gold in the women’s singles standard and freestyle class 2 events.
Only a few points separated Bloch from Belgium’s silver medallist Sofie Cox in the standard.
In the freestyle, Bloch secured the judges' top marks in technical skills and difficulty level to win her second gold.
“For me it [the freestyle] was a little surprise and when I heard the Polish anthem, I felt very, very happy and I think others could see that,” said Bloch, who missed the freestyle podium at the 2017 Worlds.
Bloch’s achievements are an improvement on last month’s competition in Frankfurt, Germany, where she won silver in the freestyle but finished outside the medals in the standard.
“I think it [the 2018 European Championships] is going to be difficult,” Bloch said. “That is why I decided to take up cross-fit because my physical conditioning seems to be extremely important in this case. Choreography and dance is one thing, but physical condition is also important. I am going to present a new choreography during the European Championships in freestyle.”
Bloch’s double triumph was not the only success for the hosts.
World bronze medallists Nadine Kinczel and Pawel Karpinski celebrated gold in the combi Latin class 2, a performance that all the judges clearly enjoyed.
“Winning this gold medal is one of the most important points for us because it was our last tournament and the best way we want to say goodbye,” standing partner Kinczel said. “This summarizes a five-year long-time partnership.
“We are going to still dance but in different combinations and with different partners.”
Karpinski then joined forces with wheelchair partner Joanna Reda to win the duo Latin class 2, showing why they are the defending European champions.
The Polish pair had to settle for silver in the duo standard 2. They could not match the performance of South Korean winners Hye-Jeong Jang and Youngho Lee, the same couple whom Reda and Karpinski finished behind at the 2017 Worlds.
Karpinski again could not better Germany’s winner Erik Machens in the men’s singles class 2. But it gives the Polish dancer a better idea on what he needs to correct before his home European Championships.
Ukraine also celebrated medals in Lomianki, thanks to Snizhana Kernychna.
The Ukrainian won three medals in her class 1 events, including golds in the women’s standard and combi freestyle with partner Ihor Bozhenko.
Kernychna’s pursuit for a third gold was halted by Kazakhstan’s defending world champion Karlygash Tynabekova in the women’s singles freestyle.
Austrians Sanja Vukasinovic and Robert Pleininger won the duo freestyle 2, repeating their success from the Mainhatten Cup.
Cape Verde enjoyed a memorable competition, winning two golds in Lomianki. Nilson Pines took the men’s singles freestyle title, while Declanisangelo Goncalves celebrated his first career gold with partner Medica Miriam in the combi freestyle class 2. “For us it was a real honour because we are the only country representing Africa here at the Polish Open,” Miriam said. “So we were very satisfied because we could represent Cape Verde.”
Complete results from the Polish Open are available on World Para Dance Sport’s website
The 2018 World Para Dance Sport European Championships will take place 9-11 November.