Malle 2017: Top moments

The biggest World Para Dance Sport Championships to date had plenty of talking points 24 Oct 2017
Para dance sport athletes perform on the dancefloor

There were some outstanding performances at Malle 2017

ⒸSven Bruggeman

The fifth edition of the World Para Dance Sport Championships saw a different flare than previous years. Thanks to the return of single and freestyle events, plus more athletes and nations taking part, the competition in Malle, Belgium, was filled with stunning performances that drew roars from the audience.

Here are the top moments from the 2017 World Championships held 21-22 October:

Sivak's emotional win

Ukrainian dancers topped the podium nine times. Perhaps one of the most memorable among their accomplishments was from Ivan Sivak. It was unclear if Sivak would return to dancing after his wife passed away just before the 2016 European Championships in Kosice, Slovakia. The duo had won multiple world and European titles together. It was therefore an unusual sight to see Sivak on the floor alone, dancing in the men’s single class 2. His elegance, grace and technique captured the judges’ eyes, and amid all his world titles, this was his first gold medal dancing solo. After his gold medal win, he said he not only dedicated his performance, but everything he does to his wife Nadiia.

Mexico medal rush

Mexico, the only nation representing the Americas, brought plenty of spice to the World Championships. Jesus Yermain Angeles Fernandez showed that his gold medal from 2015 was no fluke. Behind a rowdy support group, Fernandez’s jazzy performance to Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good” was another winner. Overall, Mexico captured five medals in Malle, a sign of the team’s strength in the sport.

New faces

Mexico’s Haydee Guadalupe Guerrero Reynosa might not have been able to top Ukraine’s Olena Chynka in the women’s single freestyle class 2. But she was a fresh, young face to the World Championships scene. Another one was Kazakhstan’s teenager Malika Muktarova. Filled with energetic performances, they took the silver and bronze, respectively in the event. Expect to see more from them in years to come.

Kazakhs on the up

Kazakhstan showed plenty of improvement, with their dancers taking seven medals compared to one from Rome 2015. Karlygash Tynabekova could not stop smiling while holding her two medals from Malle. She won women’s single freestyle class 1, her first World Championships gold, and also paired with Ardak Otorbayev in the duo standard class 1 for silver.

Asia's growing strength

This time, there was stronger representation at the Worlds from Southeast Asia. Usually a European-strong sport, athletes from Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines and South Korea contended for medals. They especially showed their creativity in the freestyle discipline. The combi freestyle class 2 in particular was an all-Asian podium where Filipinos Rhea Marquez and Jun Julius Obero triumphed.