The last major competition in Europe prior to the 2017 World Para Dance Sport Championships has attracted many of the region’s top dancers to the Mainhatten Cup, which begins Saturday (17 June) in Frankfurt, Germany.
More than 90 athletes from 17 countries – including dancers from Cape Verde, Hong Kong, Japan and the USA – are competing as they prepare for the World Championships in Belgium.
The host nation’s Erik Machens will be the most well-known face on the dance floor. The 33-year-old is coming off a winning performance from the Polish Open last month, showcasing his form toward bettering his silver medal from the 2015 World Championships in the men’s singles class 2.
But the Mainhatten Cup will also see the return of a strong Ukrainian delegation, including Machens’ toughest competition, arguably, in Ivan Zamiga; the men’s singles class 2 reigning European champion will make his season debut.
In the same class Poland’s European bronze medallist Pawel Karpinski is in the hunt for his first victory of 2017, after falling just short in the first two competitions this season.
In the women's competition Austria’s Europeans medallist Sanja Vukasinovic remains a strong podium contender in the singles and freestyle class 2 events this weekend. After finishing third and first respectively from the Polish Open, Vukasinovic will try to work her way toward her first Worlds medals.
Belarus’ Darya Kulsh and Aliaksandr Liakhovich are among the couples entering Frankfurt with Worlds titles from 2015, as the reigning champions will be the ones to beat in the combi Latin class 1. Hanna Siratsiuk and Ihar Kuliashou, who finished third at Rome 2015, will seek to out-perform their compatriots.
Finland’s Tuuli Harju and Timo Pyykkonen look to continue their unbeaten run this season in the combi standard class 1.
Polish power couple Joanna Reda and Karpinski will try to keep their momentum going in the duo Latin and duo standard class 2. The couple finished on the podiums in both those two events in Lomianki and Cuijk, including double golds from the Polish Open.
Hong Kong’s Asian champion duo of Hei Man Ho and Wah Keung Ma will make their season debuts and look to prove their podium potential ahead of Malle 2017, particularly in the combi freestyle class 1.
The Para Dance Mainhatten Cup runs until Sunday (18 June). Two more competitions will be held in Asia – the Peikang Open later this month and Starlight Open in September – before the Malle World Para Dance Sport Championships from 21-22 October.