From Friday 22 to Sunday 24 September, the absolute world’s best in breaking will descend on Leuven. They will compete in 1-on-1 battles for the world titles in the Lotto WDSF World Breaking Championship 2023, some 10 months before the sport makes its debut at the Olympic Games in Paris. By the way, the winners in Leuven will automatically qualify for the Olympics.
Breaking is the official name of what is often described as breakdancing and is the original hip-hop dance form that combines acrobatics with creativity. Breakers create their own unique moves and search for their personal way of moving, their own style. The world’s best 150 b-boys and the best 100 b-girls will be showing off their moves in Leuven for three days during this first World Championship in Flanders. The whole city will be immersed in a cultural urban sports atmosphere, just when hip-hop is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
The Ladeuzeplein, last year’s setting for Unbreakable – the most important international battle (competition) in Belgium, will once again be the nerve centre of the Lotto WDSF World Breaking Championship 2023. Stands around an indoor arena will accommodate 2,500 spectators, who can watch the spectacle for free. For the two evening sessions on Saturday and Sunday, those who want can reserve a seat: they pay 7.5 Euros but get drink vouchers for the same value to use on the spot.
Friday will feature the practice sessions (open to the public), Saturday afternoon sees the start of competitions with the top 32 round in the evening session. On Sunday, the 16 best b-boys and b-girls in the various categories compete all the way through to the finals in the evening for the world titles and corresponding spots at the Olympics.
The public village with drink and food stands and many other activities will take over the rest of Ladeuzeplein. The galleries of the university library will be transformed into the warm-up zone. Numerous squares will host side events focused on the 4 elements of hip-hop (breaking, MC’ing, DJing and graffiti) with various workshops. The city park is reserved for the kids, including a preliminary round of the VK Kids 1-on-1.
The Depot will host concerts and afterparties. As part of 50 years of hip-hop, legends of hip-hop will perform on Saturday and Sunday night to close the Lotto WDSF World Breaking Championship 2023 with a bang!
Michel Francken, CEO Events at Golazo/Sportizon: “We have been active in breaking for as long as 18 years and are therefore very happy to be able to bring the World Championship to Flanders, one year before the sport makes its debut at the Olympic Games. This sport – just like the successful 3×3 World Cup last summer – plays a very important role in continuing to introduce urban sports to a very broad cross section of our youth as a very accessible sport. We want to give breaking every opportunity to conquer its place in the sprots landscape with the World Championship serving as showcase.”
Flemish Minister for Sport, Ben Weyts: “In 2024, Flanders will be in Paris for the Games, but in 2023 the whole world is coming to Flanders for a spectacular taste of the Games: The World Championship Breaking. This fits into a broader policy of bringing top sporting events to Flanders, thereby strengthening our image abroad and inspiring countless spectators at home to get moving themselves. We are especially appealing to children and young people with contemporary sports like breaking.”
Flemish Minister for Tourism Zuhal Demir: “When people think of Flanders and sport, at home and abroad they will think of cycling or football. But Flanders has much more up its sleeve, new ‘urban’ sports are also flourishing here, and we should flaunt it. That is why we together with the Flemish government tried to bring the World Championship Breaking here two years ago. Those efforts are beginning to bear fruit: this summer, Leuven will organise the first World Championship Breaking in Flanders. The World Championship of a young sport on the rise will definitely ensure that a relatively younger international audience gets to know Flanders.”
Mayor of Leuven Mohamed Ridouani: “After the fantastic Road World Championships in 2021, we can get ready for another great World Championship Breaking. The sport is going Olympic in 2024, so the level will be incredibly high. But breaking is about much more than just the sport. Breaking is about positive values, such as inclusion, respect, guts and creativity. Values that are also part of Leuven’s DNA.”
“There is a lot of love between Leuven and urban sports”, adds Councillor for Sport Johan Geleyns. “It’s no surprise that one of the most important breaking events in the world, Unbreakable, originated in our city. Playing sports in squares, in a casual way, brings young people together and is gaining popularity. As a former European City of Sport, we are playing our urban sports trump card by opening a brand-new urban sports park in Wilsele this summer, but also by providing extra skate parks and designing playgrounds in such a way that you are welcome to come play basketball, ride your scooter of breakdance. The arrival of the World Championship Breaking is a steppingstone to much more.”
“Lotto has been an indispensable value in the world of sports and sports experiences in our country for decades. Our financial contribution to more than 25 sports federations is the best example of our engagement. In addition, as a partner of Team Belgium we are helping to support the athletes who will participate in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. We are therefore extremely proud to be able to support a dynamic sport like breaking on its road to those Olympic Games. The fact that the Lotto WDSF World Breaking Championship is taking place in Belgium motivates the Lotto players and top athletes, and it is already a nice taste of what is to come in Paris in 2024”, says Jannie Haek, CEO National Lottery of Belgium.
“It is very special for the WDSF and entire breaking community to celebrate the best breaking has to offer in Leuven at the WDSF World Breaking Championship 2023. It is amazing to be able to gather the best breakers in the world and for them to showcase their skills, athletic capacities and creativity. It is the best possible promotion for breaking, which is a perfect mix of art and top sports. We would also like to thank the Belgian Danssport Federation and Golazo/Sportizon, their support is invaluable to make this event a reality. We are already looking forward to an unforgettable championship in September”, said WDSF President Shawn Tay.
Jonny Lekens, BDSF President and Danssport Flanders: “The opportunity to host the World Championship Breaking is a milestone for Danssport Flanders and an opportunity to present our country as a vibrant epicentre of cultural exchanges, ground-breaking performance and organisational excellence.”
Stijn Luyten, Top Sport Technical Director Breaking Flanders/Danssport Flanders: “The World Championship Breaking in Leuven connects sport with art, passion with excellence and the Olympic Games with hip-hop. It will be an unprecedented spectacle, driven by passion, creativity and respect. We have come full circle because the World Championship will take place in Leuven, where we created cult event Unbreakable in 2005, an event that is regarded as one of the biggest and leading battles in the world to this day.”
B-girl Maxime Blieck (Madmax): “The World Championship on home ground is very important and it will be a tremendous honour to be part of it. It is very exciting and almost unbelievable that the last World Championship prior to the Olympics will take place in our own country. I am very excited!”
B-boy Cis Backeljau: “It will be a huge honour to be able to participate in the World Championship and to represent Belgium on the biggest stage. The fact that it takes place in our own country gives an extra boost and motivation, because it means that more of my nearest and dearest can come to cheer me on and that is very nice.”