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Finnish DanceSport Federation sets example with support for Breaking 12/11/2020

B-girl Ramona

Breaking in Finland has made substantial progress since the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the DanceSport discipline would appear at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and, provisionally, at the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

The Finnish DanceSport Federation (FDSF) has worked closely with the Finnish Olympic Committee in the ensuing years to help the Finnish Breaking Association (SBL) develop and professionalize its operations.

Among its recent initiatives, the SBL has enhanced and improved its statutes and established a new Executive Board, currently chaired by Ramona Panula, aka b-girl Ramona.

With full membership in the FDSF, the SBL now has the ability to influence the future of DanceSport in Finland using its voting privileges, beginning with the next FDSF Annual General Meeting set to take place on 22 November. The FDSF has deemed it important to have Breaking represented on its Board and as such has invited the SBL to put their candidate forward for election.

“We are delighted with the progress we have made together with the Breaking community in Finland and especially the SBL to integrate Breaking into the FDSF,” said Leena Liusvaara, FDSF President and WDSF Vice-President for Communication. “We are also looking forward to better things to come with our ‘Matkalla Pariisiin 2024’ [‘On Our Way to Paris 2024’] project, which would see support coming from the National Olympic Committee that would benefit not only Breaking but other DanceSport disciplines as well.”

“Matkalla Pariisiin 2024” is a project proposed by the FDSF to the Finnish Olympic Committee that, if approved, would see the NOC support Finnish Breaking en route to the Olympic Games Paris 2024, including help for b-boys and b-girls attempting to qualify for Olympic events and competing at major multisports events like The World Games.

The FDSF presented the project, which was jointly developed with the SBL, to the NOC in October and was very well-received. As a result, the FDSF has been invited back for a second hearing on the project on 9 November.

In addition to Breaking, the FDSF also updated the NOC on initiatives in Standard, Latin and Boogie-Woogie. Athletes from these disciplines would also benefit from NOC financial support under the Matkalla Pariisiin 2024, if approved. Aid would be put toward development and dance camps, while the NOC has already approved that it will provide mentoring and advisors.

In the meantime, a Finnish Breaking National Team featuring 10 breakers was named last week, and the SBL is in the process of creating a ranking system, which will begin with results at the Finnish Breaking Championships on 5 December. Like the innovative online qualification system launched by the WDSF for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, qualifying for the Finnish Championships will also be determined electronically, via videos sent in from b-boys and b-girls across the country.

The unveiling of the Breaking National team generated a good deal of media coverage and social media buzz. Some of the big names that made the team are AT (who was a WDSF judge at the YOG in Buenos Aires), Ramona, Haiku, and Hatsolo. Aleksi Kyllönen was nominated as the head of discipline and thus also a member of the FDSF’s top sport committee.

“We warmly applaud the excellent initiatives undertaken by the FDSF in recent years to bring Breaking into the DanceSport fold in Finland,” said WDSF President Shawn Tay. “Adding a representative of the local Breaking Association to the FDSF Board would be a welcome next step. The excellent work undertaken by the FDSF in this area should inspire other NMBs around the world to consider taking similar steps.”

The IOC will make an official decision on whether to include Breaking (along with skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing) on the sports programme for Paris 2024 at its Executive Board meeting in early December.