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The World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) is set to begin competition before the end of 2020, subject to the status of the coronavirus pandemic, according to WDSF Vice-President for Sport Nenad Jeftic.
“We are planning to restart our competition system from October/November 2020, but it depends on how the situation with COVID will unfold,” Jeftic says. “As things stand now, the first competitions will likely be held in Europe. In some regions, the situation is already quite favourable for their organisation.”
That news will be music to the ears of dancers worldwide who have been deprived of WDSF-sanctioned events since the pandemic started disrupting the competition calendar in earnest this March.
A comprehensive checklist has been drawn up to ensure that it will be safe to proceed with the restart of competition. Items include everything from the number of entry and exit restrictions in countries to the establishment of regular passenger flights and the ability of organisers to apply appropriate preventative measures to protect all participants.
“The biggest challenge is how to get back to normal pre-COVID life and simultaneously to protect the health and well-being of all of us – athletes, officials and everyone who works for DanceSport,” says Jeftic.
While the overall safety requirements will be the responsibility of the event organisers, for Jeftic, the real onus will be on the individual. “We are faced with a dangerous pandemic, so the responsibility of each individual is of vital importance. The complete system depends on how seriously each individual will understand and approach this situation.”
To assist the DanceSport community with preparations for the eventual return to competition, the WDSF has been hard at work preparing a handbook of safety and operational guidelines.
“Some days ago, the WDSF sent short instructions to our Members to see what they could expect in future,” Jeftic explains. “We are now working on the whole book, with detailed guidelines for organisers to be completely prepared when organising their competitions. Very soon the book will be sent to our Members and published on our website. It will contain all instructions and above all restrictions regarding social distancing, special requests regarding the organisation of competitions, mandatory wearing of masks, disinfection, etc.”
It is apparent that DanceSport will return in a very different guise than what the community was accustomed to pre-COVID, at least until it is safe to return to normal conditions. This will require a great deal of understanding and flexibility from all participants at each competition venue but is a necessary pill to swallow during these unprecedented times.
“The pandemic situation is different from country to country,” Jeftic says. “In some places the virus is controlled and in others it is not. Also, the restrictions of each country’s government are different and we have to find a certain amount of measures that will meet the minimum criteria so that competitions can be held and adjusted to the situation. When it comes to a pandemic like this, everything is a big challenge, but we are halfway to overcoming it.”
Having worked tirelessly for over five months to find a solution that will get all our athletes back on the dancefloor as quickly and safely as possible, Jeftic remains surprisingly positive even in the face of such unexpected and unwelcome circumstances. It is a lesson that all of us can heed as we look forward to returning to competition.
“I have to say that everything is very unpredictable, but all my life I have been a great optimist,” Jeftic says. “Despite my negative experience at the beginning of the pandemic, I am very optimistic about finding a solution to continue with the regular activities of our wonderful sport. Optimism is inherent in people and I am, above all, a man.
“We are doing our best to be positive and strong in these difficult times.”