Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) dance sports champions Wilbert Aunzo and Pearl Marie Cañeda of Cebu have hardly practiced in a large, sprawling space for the past two years due to the pandemic.
Thanks to this, the couple have only been able to dance together when an indulgent alert level allows. And when they did, they could only train in studios.
So when they had the chance to compete earlier this month, the longtime couple dropped everything on the dance floor and finished 28th out of 135 pairs at the World Dance Sports Federation (WDSF) Universal Championships. in the town of Este in Padua, Italy.
“It was really a joyful feeling to be back on the dance floor, and overseas at that,” said Aunzo, whose training late last year in Cebu City was even disturbed by typhoon “Odette”.
They were the only Asians to participate in the WDSF meet. “We are truly grateful to our supporters like Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) for [the] opportunity,” Aunzo said.
The trip, which was capped off with a two-week training camp in Molinella, Italy, is part of their preparation for SEAG Hanoi in May.
Aunzo and Cañeda led SEAG 2019, dominating Latin American cha-cha, rumba and samba in the biennial encounter which was sadly the last tournament they entered before the Italian relay.
“After the SEA Games, we competed [in] January 2020 in Pampanga and that was it,” Cañeda said. “So when we got there, we just danced our frustrations out and were even surprised that we beat 80% of the total entrants. We consider that a big achievement for us.
The Cebu City duo, the result of local government efforts, trained at Team Diable Academy under coaches Alina Nowak and Edgar Marcos-Borjas.
“It was a rigorous training camp, we saw that we were still lacking in physical form,” said Aunzo, who, along with Cañeda, is in quarantine in Cebu City. “But we learned a lot and it’s a big boost for our preparation for the SEA Games.”
The Philippines field their powerhouse team at the biennial meeting in Vietnam.
When the country hosted the 2019 edition, Filipino dance sports betting won all but three of the 13 gold medals contested.
31st SEA Games in May 2022
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