More than 40 athletes have arrived in Astana, Kazakhstan, eager for the start of the wheelchair dance sport season on Saturday (9 April).
The singles field is particularly large, as the events enter their second full season on the programme following their introduction in late 2014.
Russia’s single and singles freestyle 2015 world No. 1, Galina Ryzhkova, will get her season underway as the new world champion in both class 2 events.
Ryzhkova sealed a historic double in 2015, claiming both titles at the debut of singles events at the World Championships in Rome, Italy.
Singles World No. 2 teammate Aleksandra Berdnik will join Ryzhkova, hoping to make a good start to the year.
Austria’s Sanja Vukasinovic will also be one to watch, alongside Kazakhstan’s freestyle World Championships bronze medallist Nargiza Akhmetova.
On the men’s singles class 2 side, all eyes will be on Russian world champion Sergey Antonov.
Chinese Taipei, the hosts of the recently announced 2016 Asian Championships in New Taipei City, have also sent a strong contingent of dancers.
Last season’s world No. 6 couple Hsin-Yu Lin and Tang-Chin Hung will dance against the top ranked pairing of Berdnik and Antonov in the duo standard class 2.
Aidana Beglenova and Ardak Otorbayev will represent the hosts in the combi standard class 1 as the world No. 4 finishers from 2015.
The 2016 Kazakhstan Open will run until Sunday (10 April).