(The Dec. 13 story corrects names of winners in second paragraph to Maria Julia Aguiar and Gregorys Jose Garcia Lozada.)
BUENOS AIRES Pole dancers from Argentina and Venezuela displayed a skillful blend of poise and athleticism to be crowned South American champions in Buenos Aires on the weekend.
Maria Julia Aguiar from Argentina and Venezuelan Gregorys Jose Garcia Lozada won the female and male categories respectively, and will compete in the World Pole Sports Championships in the Netherlands next year.
"I have been working all year to be able to successfully qualify again for the international championship," Aguiar said. "And so I am very, very happy to have this opportunity."
About 250 contestants from 11 countries participated in the event, which aims to promote pole dancing as a serious sport, rather than a pastime associated with nightclubs and striptease.
The International Pole Sports Federation hopes the event will one day be included in the Olympic Games.
(Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Nicole Nee; Editing by Darren Schuettler)