For three days, Leuven got to see the best of what breaking has to offer at the Lotto WDSF World Breaking Championship. Absolute top-class sport, scrumptious battles and Victor and Nicka crowned World Champions. At the same time, it was a very pleasant introduction to this urban sport and the culture surrounding it for the many tens of thousands of visitors.
Victor and Nicka are the new Breaking World Champions. We will see them again at the Olympic Games in Paris, as their world title gives them automatic starting rights at the biggest sports festival in the world where breaking debuts as a sport. 97 B-boys and 81 B-girls from a total of 62 countries started the competition on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, the 16 best men and women battled on and the level only went up round after round. Both finals culminated in a spectacle. Outgoing World Champion Phil Wizard (Canada) lost to American Champion Victor (USA). The bronze in the small final was for Shigekix (Japan). In the Women, we got a brilliant duel between living legend and 2021 World Champion Ayumi (Japan) and 16-year-old top talent and reigning European Champion Nicka (Lithuania). Nicka took gold and the Olympic ticket! Bronze went to Syssy from France.
For the four participating Belgians, this World Championship too was a success and an excellent test to see where they stand internationally. Three of them made it into the top 16 on Sunday. Mighty Jimm (Dimitrios Grigoriou) provided the Belgian outlier thanks to his place among the world’s best eight! The other compatriot, Cis (Backeljau), was only narrowly eliminated in the last 16. In the women’s, Madmax (Maxime Blieck) and Camine (Van Hoof) also made it to the final day. In their top 16 battles, they both came up against very strong opponents. Nevertheless, both Madmax (9th) and Camine (14th) looked back on their performances with great satisfaction. In comparison, 16 B-boys and as many B-girls will start in Paris.
This Lotto WDSF World Breaking Championship was also a hit beside the sporting arena. Leuven embraced the new Olympic sport with a warm heart. On Ladeuzeplein, the beats triumphed over the carillon for a weekend. The stands were packed for every event and the audience – including lots of children getting up really close to the action on the dance floor – admired the dancers’ skills with open mouths and cheered loudly. It made for a particularly animated and atmospheric arena both during the day in the sun and in the evening in artificial light.
More than 40,000 interested and curious people found their way to Leuven. They followed the official competition on Ladeuzeplein or discovered what breaking culture has in store through demos, workshops, crew and kids battles, DJ sets and performances in the rest of Leuven’s city centre. The young (top) sport gained recognition and sympathy from a very wide (and especially young) audience with this World Championship in our country. On Sunday evening, an afterparty at Het Depot closed the high-level event.