Malaysian teens win gold in Latin youth dance sport

Zara Elize Ghazie Yeoh (left) and Benny Tan Yee Siang (right) with their certificates from the World DanceSport Federation at the Baltic Grand Prix Championship held in Latvia from December 14-16, 2018. ― Picture courtesy of Chua Zjen Fong/Kuala Lumpur DanceSport Association
Zara Elize Ghazie Yeoh (left) and Benny Tan Yee Siang (right) with their certificates from the World DanceSport Federation at the Baltic Grand Prix Championship held in Latvia from December 14-16, 2018. ― Picture courtesy of Chua Zjen Fong/Kuala Lumpur DanceSport Association

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 20 — Benny Tan Yee Siang and Zara Elize Ghazie Yeoh beat 150 other couples from over 50 countries to take the gold medal in the Latin Youth category at the Baltix Grand Prix 2018 in Latvia last weekend.

The latest win puts the two teens, currently the national ace in the Latin category, in good stead to represent Malaysia at the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines where dance will return as a competitive sports event after being left out of last year’s edition when Kuala Lumpur played host.

“Thank you to my teachers, Chua Zjen Fong and Evon Chong (of MY DanceSport Academy) for always coaching us and Kuala Lumpur DanceSport Association (KLDSA) for sponsoring our trip to this championship.

“I would also like to thank my family and friends for always supporting us,” 15-year-old Zara said in an emailed statement to Malay Mail.

The teen athletes returned to Malaysia last night after the three-day championship in the Latvian capital of Riga from December 14 to 16 where they had to perform five difference dance routines — samba, cha cha, rumba, paso doble and jive — in a single round.

Prior to the Baltic Grand Prix, Tan, 16, and Zara, had been training in Italy.

Both athletes were nominated to represent Malaysia in the championship by MY DanceSport Federation and KLDSA where they are members.

“They are a very promising couple and a rising star in the DanceSport scene,” KLDSA president Chua Kian Hong told Malay Mail.

He said Tan and Zara represented Malaysia in another championship in Italy last year where they ranked fourth, just missing a podium finish.

Chua added that although the SEA Games usually has an adult category only, there is a high probability for the teen duo to be chosen for the Malaysian team next year.

He said the Asian DanceSport Federation has proposed a Youth category to be included in the Games at Clark in the Philippines.

Chua said one of the requirements for the dancesport athletes is that they must be registered and have a valid licence from the World DanceSport Federation.

* A previous version of this story contained errors in the name of the championship which have since been corrected. 

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