Para dance world champions return in style

Filipino pair win both events on season debut at Peikang Open. 28 Jun 2017
A row of men and women in wheelchairs with competition certificates
Rhea Marquez and Julius Obero (far left) made a winning start to their 2017 season at the Peikang Open.
ⒸRoland Lipovits

Rhea Marquez and Julius Obero emphasised their intentions for a second straight world title – and perhaps more – as the Filipino couple won both their events at the Peikang Para Dance Sport Open in Chinese Taipei.

It was the couple’s first competition since the 2015 World Championships in Rome, Italy, where they won the combi freestyle class 2. On Sunday (25 June), Marquez and Obero won that very event, topping Katarzyna Bloch and Marek Zaborowski by slim margins in technique, choreography and presentation. The reigning European Championship couple had a perfect record in the freestyle all season until that weekend. Kazakhstan’s Atalikova Kulshum and Emek Kalimbetov completed the podium.

The Filipinos also won the combi Latin class 1 and 2, thanks to strong performances in the Samba and Paso doble. South Korea’s Youngseon Park and Youngho Lee took the silver medal, and Bloch and Zaborowski bronze.

Lee did leave with two victories – in the duo standard class 1 and 2 combined with Hyejeong Jang – and the men’s single class 2. Lee and Jang took the top prize in the duo standard over Austria’s Brigitte Kroell and Werner Kaiser, followed by Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yi Jung and Kuo Wen Sheng. In the men’s single, Lee bettered Obero and compatriot Seunghun Jun, respectively.

Kroell and Kaiser also found success in the duo Latin class 1, taking the top marks across all five dances. South Korea’s Geunsik Lee and Seunghun Manjun were second, and Lin Hsin Yu and Hung Tang Chin took third for the host nation.

Jang and Ikhee Lee added more to South Korea’s success in Peikang. The couple took the combi standard class 1 and 2 title, thanks to their slow foxtrot and Viennese waltz dances. Block and Zaborowski took runner-up, and South Korea’s Juhee Hwang and Kangwon Cho rounded off the podium.

Bloch found individual success in the women’s single class 1 and 2, bumping Austria’s Sanja Vukasinovic to second, and Chinese Taipei’s Asian Championships silver medallist Lin was third.

Vukasinovic however continued her unbeaten streak in the women’s single freestyle, taking home the win on Sunday. Mexico’s Guadalupe Reynosa Guerrero was second, and Kazakhstan’s Karlygash Tynabekova took third.

In the men’s equivalent, Kazakhstan’s Yermek Kalymbetov was victorious, South Korea’s Jun second and Chinese Taipei’s Kuo third.

Complete results can be found on World Para Dance Sport’s website.

Competition moves to Hong Kong for the World Para Dance Sport Starlight Open on 17 September. It is the penultimate competition before the 2017 Malle World Para Dance Sport Championships from 21-22 October in Belgium.