In just under 12 months, 12 b-boys and 12-b-girls will be “BREAKING for GOLD” at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) for the first time in history. Next Sunday, 22 October, around 150 breakers from Europe and Africa will try to remain in the battle for one of the elusive YOG places by excelling in Essen, GER.
The second of three Continental Qualifiers for the Breaking events at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games takes place on Sunday 22 October at the Grugahalle in Essen, GER. It is the closing act to one of the longest-running competitions in the dance, the Battle of the Year. Thousands of b-boys and b-girls from around the world converge upon the city in North Rhine-Westphalia every year, making it, at least for a few days, an epicentre of the hip-hop culture and the global battleground for breakers to determine who is best amongst them.
For some 150 b-boys/girls from Africa or Europe and born in 2000, 2001 or 2002, Essen will be the place and 22 October the date deciding over who gets to continue his or her journey towards next year’s Youth Olympics in Argentina. The “U-18 by 2018” breakers of both genders have taken the first hurdle – one of the digital kind – in order to make it to Germany. They are the ones selected among more than 600 from 35 European and six African countries on the basis of a video they uploaded to the breakingforgold.com platform, demonstrating their dancing skills to the panel of expert judges through a short recording.
The pressure will be on for each and every one of them. This time it is not dancing to a camera, but showing the best top- and downrock as well as power moves in one-versus-one battles staged in three distinct competition phases throughout the day. At the end of it all, after close to ten hours, a final between two b-boys and two b-girls, those who made it through the brackets by winning all their knockout battles, will decide over who is ranked #1 and #2 for the respective gender.
All four will be entitled to take part in the next and final stage of YOG qualifying, in the 2018 WDSF World Youth Breaking Championship in Kanawasaki, JPN, in May. It is a privilege that a select number of their peers will also get to enjoy. Of all the participants in Essen, only the top 20 b-boys and the top 10 b-girls will be eligible to enter the World Championship next year. However, an important restriction limits a National Olympic Committee (NOC) to field maximum three b-boys and two b-girls in Japan, something that is bound to cause disappointment for some and joy for others, but it is also something that should help the International Olympic Committee to ensure the participation of 206 NOCs in the upcoming YOG.
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