South Koreans steal show at Belgium Open

Led by Hyejeong Jang and Youngho Lee, South Korean flexed their strengths ahead of November’s IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport Asian Championships. 05 Oct 2016
Kasicka and Vidasic - wheelchair dance sport

Kasicka and Vidasic

ⒸRoland E. Lipovits

With just one month to go until the IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport Asian Championships, South Korea showed their strong form, stealing the show at the Belgium Open held 1-2 October in Hasselt.

The nation topped the standings with 13 medals, half which were gold. Notable performances included Changwoo Han and Jini Ryu in the combi Latin class 1. The duo were the judge’s favourites across all five categories. Slovakia’s couple of Helena Kasicka and Peter Vidasic –2015 Worlds silver medallists – took second place. Spain’s Nassim El Harbas and Nayara Palazon Yebra were third.

Kasicka and Vidasic saw another runner-up finish to the hands of the South Koreans, this time in the combi standard class 1 where they are the reigning world champions. Hyejeong Jang and Jaewoo Lee – World silver medallists from Rome, Italy – received the top marks from all the judges to claim the gold. Fellow compatriots Oknam Noh and Seoungmin Jin rounded off the podium.

Kasicka and Vidasic however did leave Hasselt with gold in the freestyle combi class 1. They beat out South Korean’s Jang and Jaewoo Lee, followed by Slovakian compatriots Maria Gazdikova and Maros Olejar.

South Korea remained on top, seeing golds in the combi standard class 2, men’s singles class 2, women’s singles class 1 and duo standard class 2.

Dukho Choi with dance partner Soyeong Yun captured gold in the standard class 2, while Poland’s Katarzyna Bloch and Marek Zaborowski took the silver; Austria’s Katharina Ertas-Ferstl and Robert Pleininger completed the podium.

Hyejeong Jang was the clear winner in the women’s singles class 1, while her teammate Oknam Noh battled with Belgim’s Roswitha Van Dorpe for the silver. The Belgian’s performances in the tango, salsa and jive helped secure her the silver, as Noh took bronze.

Youngho Lee had more golds for South Korea. He took the men’s singles class 2, followed by Poland’s Pawel Karpinski and then Lee’s teammate Seunghun Jun. In the duo standard class 2, he partnered with Lee to take gold, followed by Austrian couple Brigitte Kroell and Werner Kaiser, and Belgian’s Sofie Cox and Sander Deckx.

Karpinski, however, was able to reach the top of the podium three times, helping Poland come in second in the medals table with seven. Partnering with Nadine Kinczel and Reda Joanna, he helped Poland capture golds in the combi and duo Latin 2, respectively.

Kinczel and Karpinski barely out-performed South Korea’s Youngseon Park and Youngho Lee in the combi Latin 2, taking top marks in the salsa, rumba and cha cha. South Koreans Jihee Kim and Hyunduck Kim took the bronze.

Poland’s Agata Wojciechowska and Daniel Jezmanowski, and Belgium’s Sofie Cox and Sander Deckx rounded out the podium, respectively, in the duo Latin class 2.

In the freestyle combi class 2, Bloch and Zaborowski added to Poland’s medal count with gold. South Koreans Park and Lee took the silver, and Cape Verde’s Goncalves Declanisangelo Gomes and Miriam Medina the bronze.

Cox secured the host nation’s only gold at the event, winning the women’s singles class 2. Austria’s Sanja Vukasinovic came in second, and Bloch grabbed the bronze.

Vukasinovic triumphed in the women’s freestyle singles class 2, bettering the Netherlands’ Sharon Schleepen and Cox, respectively.

South Korea’s Seunghun Jun was the lone dancer in the men’s freestyle singles class 2.

Complete results from the Belgium Open can be found on the IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport’s website.

Next up is the 2016 IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport European Championships held 28-30 October in Kosice, Slovakia. The 2016 Asian Championships will follow from 5-6 November in New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei.