PH dancesport pair shows SEA Games worth in Universal tilt
Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) dancesports champions Wilbert Aunzo and Pearl Marie Cañeda hardly had any practice in a big sprawling space the past two years because of the pandemic.
Through it, the couple only got to dance together whenever a lenient alert level allows. And when they did, they only got to train in studios.
So when they got the chance to compete early this month, the longtime couple let it all out on the dance floor and finished 28th out of 135 pairs in the World Dance Sports Federation (WDSF) Universal Championships in Este town in Padua, Italy.
“It was really a joyful feeling to be back on the dance floor, and abroad at that,” said Aunzo, whose training late last year in Cebu City was even disrupted by Typhoon “Odette.”
They were the only Asians to have competed in the WDSF meet. “We are really thankful to our supporters like Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) for [the] opportunity,” said Aunzo.
The trip, which was capped by a two-week training camp in Molinella, Italy, is part of their build-up for the Hanoi SEAG this May.
Aunzo and Cañeda ruled the 2019 SEA Games, dominating the Latin American Cha-cha, Rumba and Samba in the biennial meet which unfortunately was the last tournament they competed in before the Italian stint.
“After SEA Games, we competed [in] January 2020 in Pampanga and that was it,” said Cañeda. “So when we got there, we just danced our frustrations and we’re even surprised we beat 80 percent of the total participants. We consider this a big achievement for us.”
The Cebu City pair, a product of the local government’s grassroots efforts, underwent training at Team Diable Academy under coaches Alina Nowak and Edgar Marcos-Borjas.
“It was a rigorous training camp, we saw that we are still lacking in fitness,” said Aunzo, who along with Cañeda are on quarantine in Cebu City. “But we learned a lot and it’s a big boost for our preparation for the SEA Games.”
The Philippines is fielding its powerhouse team in the biennial meet in Vietnam.
When the country hosted the 2019 edition, Filipino dancesports bets won all but three of the 13 gold medals disputed.