The host nation will have ten couples competing at the Komazawa Olympic Park Gynasium.
The 2013 IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport World Championships have opened with a bang in the Japanese city of Tokyo today (Saturday, 7 December).
Over 160 athletes from nearly 20 countries have gathered for the climax to a great year for the sport, which will see dancers compete in six medal events across two days of competition this weekend (7-8 December).
Those who have travelled to Japan’s sprawling capital city include Russian couple Galina Ryzhkova and Viacheslav Osipov, winners of the combi Latin class 2 from the 2013 Continents Cup in Moscow, Russia, and current world No.1 in the event.
The pair have already registered their intent to win the world title, alongside their team mates who form one of the biggest contingents attending the competition. Russia topped the medals tables at the 2010 IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport World Championships in Hannover, Germany, leaving with six medals, two of which were golden.
At the 2010 World Championships, Poland equalled Russia’s gold medal haul but finished second with two gold and one silver. World Champions Pawel Karpinski and Joanna Reda, will be aiming to keep that position in the duo Latin and standard class 2 dances.
Ukraine’s team will be looking to better their third place medals table finish from 2010.
World Championship Silver medallists in the combi standard class 2, Slovakian couple Helena Kasicka and Peter Vidasic, will also be a couple to look out for in this event, in the absence of World Champions Valriy Bevzyuk and Olena Iaramenko.
Shigeko Koyano and Hiroyuki Kayano meanwhile are Japan’s premier couple heading into the competition. They will enter the combi standard class 2, but face stiff competition from Russian couple Alexander Lyapin and Irina Gordeeva, reigning World Championships. The host nation will have ten couples competing at the Komazawa Olympic Park Gymnasium.
At the Opening Ceremony, the President of the Japanese Paralympic Committee, Mr. Mitsunori Torihara said:
"We must continue to spread the word of para-sport and wheelchair dance sport around the world.
"I call on nations for their cooperation in continuing this wonderful sport so that more people can enjoy it."
The ceremony included a string of solo songs from visually impaired guitarist Hiroaki Tagawa.
The closing dinner will also see a special screening of American film, Musical Chairs, Directed by Susan Seidelman of 1985 blockbuster Desperately Seeking Susan fame and produced by Janet Carrus.
In 2013, IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport launched a new website and Facebook page, as well as introducing or relaxing a number of policies aimed at improving participation, funding for athletes, and increasing athlete numbers.
The 2013 IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport World Championships run from 7-8 December.