"For the first time ever a Para dance sport World Championship will be organised in Belgium.”
World Para Dance Sport has announced that the 2017 World Championships, the world’s biggest gathering of Para dancers, will be held in the Belgian town of Malle between 21-22 October.
Around 150 athletes from 25 countries are expected for the competition which is being hosted at the Provincial Education Centre. It follows on from other successful competitions held in the country in previous years.
"For the first time ever a Para dance sport World Championship will be organised in Belgium,” Jef Boudewijns, President of the Belgian Wheelchair Dance Sport Federation, one of a group of organisations who form the Local Organising Committee, said.
“During three successful editions of the Belgian Open between 2014-16 we were able to form a competent and motivated team. We now have sufficient know-how and enthusiasm to organise a World Championships, keeping in mind the words of Julius Caesar: 'Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae' or 'Of all these, Belgae are the bravest and strongest'. Therefore we are pleased that World Para Dance Sport has allocated this important contest to our country.
“First and foremost, we will offer athletes from all over the world a fantastic competition. Moreover, we are convinced that this event will give a boost to Para dance sport in Belgium. You cannot find a better promotion for our sport.
“We look forward to seeing everyone in October next year."
Camila Rodrigues, World Para Dance Sport Manager, said: “Several very successful competitions have been held in Belgium in recent years and we are excited by what the Local Organising Committee will do for the World Championships.
“I am confident that with their enthusiasm and experience, Malle 2017 will allow us to build on the previous editions as Para dance sport continues to grow in popularity around the world.”
The 2015 World Championships in Rome, Italy, attracted 150 dancers from 25 countries. Featuring singles and singles freestyle events for the first time, stand out performances in the couple’s events came from the Philippines’ Rhea Marquez and Jun Julius Obero in the combi freestyle class 2.
The first Asian Championships were held in New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei, in 2016 alongside the latest edition of the European Championships that were held in Kosice, Slovakia, as World Para Dance Sport expanded its competition calendar.