The European IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport Championships begin in Kosice, Slovakia this Friday with a number of strong competitors on show. 100 athletes, across 14 nations will be competing for the 13 medals on offer in Kosice.
The big hope for the home fans is Helena Kasicka and Peter Vidasic who are entering the combi standard and freestyle class 1 events. The pair will be the favorites for the standard medal, holding the current world championship but also look strong for freestyle where they are ranked number one in the world.
Should the Slovakians win it would be their first titles as the current champions are two different pairings. In the standard class it is Belarusian pair Varanika Kasach and Aliaksei Zukhtsikau and in the freestyle it is Israeli pair Vital Zinger and Sean Shabtay Ziv looking to defend their titles.
Belarus’ biggest strength is in the combi Latin Class 1 event with the top three in the world rankings all Belarussian. But, with a home crowd, Kasicka and Vidasic could well upset that sweep, having the silver medal from the world championships.
In the combi class 2 events there is another hope for the Slovakian crowd with Maria Dutkova and Martin Solc a chance of a podium in the freestyle. In the Latin class Polish duo of Katarzyna Bloch and Marek Zaborowski come in as the favorites, holding the world number one.
Austria has another strong chance in the duo standard class 2 with Brigitte Kroell and Werner Kaiser the world number one pairing. Polish pair Joanna Reda and Pawel Karpinski won gold in the Latin class in the worlds and are pushing for gold in the standard as well.
Ukrainian Illona Slugovyna could well win three gold, currently holding the world title in the women’s singles class 1. She will pair with Valeriy to attempt to win the duo events, and they currently hold gold in the world championships duo standard class 1.
Ukraine will also be hopeful of gold in the women’s single class 2, coming in as the world runner-up. The event is being streamed on the IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport website from Friday onwards.