The Philippines showed the depth of their dancing talent at the Beigang Para Dance Sport Open from 6-7 October in Chinese Taipei.
Triple world champions Rhea Marquez and Julius Obero put on two winning performances just 24 hours after performing in the Opening Ceremony of the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games. But the impressive debuts of their compatriots Rama Agbagala and John Orboc were the real surprises.
In their first World Para Dance Sport event, the young Filipino couple won the combi freestyle class 1 that was decided by a matter of details. A slight edge in technical skills and difficulty level gave Agbagala and Orboc gold ahead of Kazakhstan’s World Championship bronze medallists Aidana Beglenova and Ardak Otorbayev. Japan’s Ada Mitsutero and Tormoe Ito completed the podium.
The rising talents fell short of first place in the combi Latin 1, as 2017 world champions Jini Ryu and Changwoo Han from South Korea proved too experienced. Their compatriots Hayun Jeong and Hochun Song completed the podium.
Philippines power couple
Marquez and Obero executed a near-perfect routine in the combi freestyle 2. But challenging them were their fellow Filipinos Lairca Nicdao and Filemon Baguio, who also excelled in their first major appearance with silver. Kazakhstan’s Kulshum Atalykova and Yermek Kalymbetov came in third.
The combi Latin 2 gold medal was a rematch of the 2017 Worlds in Malle, Belgium. Again, Marquez and Obero came away with the top prize, outperforming their Ukrainian counterparts Olena Danevych and Ivan Zamiga. South Korea’s Youngseon Park and Youngho Lee took home the bronze.
Duo dance off
All three duo dances (freestyle, standard and Latin) combined both class 1 and 2, with South Korea claiming golds in the freestyle and standard competitions.
Malle 2017 silver medallists Hye-Jeong Jang and Youngho Lee stole the judges’ hearts in the duo standard. Meanwhile hosts Chinese Taipei celebrated silver and bronze from Huang Yi-Jung and Kuo Wen Sheng; and Wang Tsai-Yen and Chen Chi-Ming, respectively.
In the duo freestyle, Geumsik Lee and Seunghun Jun claimed more gold for South Korea, but the real battle was for the silver medal. Huang and Kuo had the slight edge in all three judging criteria to finish ahead of the compatriots Wang and Chen.
The host nation did celebrate gold in the duo Latin, as Huang and Kuo bumped Lee and Jun to the second podium position. Hong Kong’s Chan Kam Tim and Ma Wah Keung rounded off the top-three.
Belgium’s Sofie Cox will head into November’s European Championships full of confidence after capturing the women’s singles class 1 and 2 title. Hong Kong’s So Tze Yan Susanna and Germany’s Pamela Heymanns were two and three, respectively.
However, Heymanns’ strong choreography and presentation in the women’s freestyle 1 and 2 earned her the victory ahead of Cox, while Nicdao wrapped up a successful debut with the bronze.
South Korea celebrated double wins in both singles standard events. Changoo Han captured the class 1 title ahead of Ma Wah Keung. South Korea’s Sewoong Kang took third place.
The Asian nation also took the top accolade in the singles 2 event. Poland’s Pawel Karpinski tested his form ahead of the 2018 Euros, and Kalymbetov reached the final spot.
Complete results from the 2018 Beigang Open will be available on World Para Dance Sport's website.
First Asian course complete
Prior to the competition, Chinese Taipei hosted the region’s first introductory course from 3-4 October.
Fourteen participants from Australia, Chinese Taipei, the Philippines and Singapore learned about various topics, from classification to coaching in Para dance sport, and then tested their newfound knowledge during the competition.
Australia’s Judy Williams said: “The course was very well presented and very informative in the areas of technique for both standing and wheelchair partners, and also classification of athletes and adjudicator system and criteria. We all enjoyed learning exercises, choreography and movement in standard, Latin and freestyle.”