Monday, October 26, 2009

Kazakhstan - A Rising Star in Dancesport

I have heard it through the grapevine that two dancesport couples will be representing Malaysia in the dancesport events at the 3rd Asian Indoor Games to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam from October 30 to November 8 2009. The couples and the events they will be taking part in are: 1) Johnston Lim & Nicole Tan - Ballroom, and 2) Alfred Choo & Carmen Choo - Latin American. Altogether athletes from some 45 Asian countries/regions will be competing in 25 sports in 215 medal events ranging from dancesport, electronic sports, shuttlecock to vovinam (Vietnamese martial arts), among others. This will be the last Asian Indoor Games before it is merged with the Asian Martial Arts Games in 2011.

China and Japan are the dancesport powerhouses in Asia and are expected to dominate the dancesport events at the 3rd Asian Indoor Games. The country to watch is the Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan which has a large Russian minority. Russians make up roughly 4.37 million or 28% of the country's estimated population of 15.6 million people. At the dancesport events held at the 2nd Asian Indoor Games in Macau, China in 2007, China headed the medal tally with 6 golds, 7 silvers and 7 bronzes, Japan was in second position with 4 golds, 2 silvers and 4 bronzes, Kazakhstan was third with 2 golds and 3 silvers whilst Thailand came in fourth by taking the remaining bronze.

Dancesport was introduced as a medal event at the 23rd South East Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines in 2005 and also featured in the 24th SEA Games in Thailand in 2007. Thailand and the Philippines have dominated dancesport since its inception in the SEA Games. At the 24th Games, Thailand garnered 8 golds, 6 silvers and 6 bronzes, the Philippines collected 2 golds, 4 silvers and 3 bronzes, whilst Malaysia took the remaining bronze (for Rumba) through Michael Yong & Janet Gooi. Unfortunately, dancesport will not feature in the 25th SEA Games 2009 in Laos. The good news is that dancesport will debut at the 16th Asian Games to be held in Guangzhou, China in 2010.

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