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The world’s 32 best b-boys and b-girls got straight down to business on the first day of the inaugural edition of the World Urban Games (WUG) in Budapest, Hungary, taking place from 13 to 15 September 2019.
The spectators at the previously derelict Great Market Hall, built in 1932 in a suburb just south of the city centre, witnessed spectacular battles that featured fierce competition, sweeping beats from DJs Fleg and South Scream that were punctuated by the drum and bass stylings of The Kinkies, and plenty of good vibes.
The ladies got things started, battling in groups of four that saw the top two b-girls from each group advance to tomorrow’s Knockout Stage.
Ami (Japan), Ayane (Japan), Sarah Bee (France), San Andrea (France), Sunny (USA), Queen Mary (Bulgaria), Kate (Ukraine) and Logistx (USA) all made the cut after some intense performances made for some very difficult decisions for judges Katsu, Moy and Hurricane.
“The level of b-girls has just been moving up every single year”, said B-boy Moy, one of the three judges for the Breaking events at the World Urban Games. “I think it’s also because the community has been focused to give them more and keep them involved. There was one point where b-boys and b-girls were kind of separated, now we are equal. This drives these young women a lot and makes them compete at the highest level. And they are here! That’s why to see the level raise and raise is not surprising to me, but impressive. I am excited to see this!”
The preliminary rounds for the 16 b-boys were no less competitive and followed the same format as that for the b-girls. Treated to a vast array of artistic, athletic and creative skill, the crowd showed its appreciation throughout the six hours of battles.
The following eight b-boys advanced to tomorrow’s finals: Shigekix (Japan), Vero (Korea), Victor (USA), Lussy Sky (Ukraine), Phil Wizard (Canada), Menno (Netherlands), Icey Ives (USA) and Bumblebee (Russia).
B-boy Menno from the Netherlands, the 2019 WDSF World Breaking Champion, and Shigekix from Japan, bronze medallist at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and seventh at the WDSF World Breaking Championship this year, were tipped as favourites for the title ahead of the competition and they proved the pundits right. The same can also be said for b-girls Ami from Japan and Sunny from the USA, reigning World Champion and Vice World Champion respectively.
“To be on the stage tomorrow is really amazing for me, wonderful”, said b-boy Shigekix directly after the competition. “The preliminaries today were really high level. I am happy to have made the finals and that I can dance tomorrow. However, this is only day one and just the beginning. Tomorrow I will do better than today for sure. Check it out!”
Tomorrow’s finals will be broadcast as of 17:40 local time on the Olympic Channel and Breaking for Gold. Eurosport 2 will also broadcast the finals live as of 19:00, with a replay set to air from 13:00 on Monday. Be sure to tune in!
For the World Urban Games, 24 breakers qualified from the 2019 WDSF World Breaking Championship in Nanjing. The rest of the field was rounded out by three b-boys and b-girls from the Outbreak Europe event held in Slovakia in July, while the final two places were allotted to dancers from the host country.
The first edition of the World Urban Games features six sports, including Breaking, BMX Freestyle, Roller Freestyle, Parkour, 3X3 Basketball and Flying Disc Freestyle. In addition, indoor rowing and laser run are on the programme as showcase sports. These multi-sport games, organised by the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), are set to become the ultimate global showcase for a new generation of urban sports and will be held every two years.
Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to check out behind-the-scenes footage, interviews and much more. Official updates will be featured on the Breaking for Gold website as well as on the World Urban Games website.
For images of the Breaking events at the WUG please click here.