PH aiming for gold as Paris Olympics debut nears

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The Association of B-boys and B-girls of the Philippines seeks to find the best Filipino breakers as it seeks an Olympic gold medal in its debut at the Paris Olympics

MANILA, Philippines — Gold is the goal for the B-boys and B-girls Association of the Philippines (BBAP) as it begins its journey to determine who will represent the country in the breakdancing debut — or breakdance – at the 2024 Paris Olympics in France.

The BBAP held its first live qualifying and ranking event for its pioneering professional league in Las Piñas on Saturday, June 25, with the aim of producing potential national team members.

Seventeen of the best b-boys and five of the best b-girls from across the Philippines – some hailing from Davao, Dumaguete and Baguio – competed on the dance floor and 10 came out on top.

Allen “Allen” Añas, Charles Smith “C-Nasty” Vergara, Gabriel “Gabster” Leviste, Ilyvm “Ddut” Gabriel, Michael “Swurl” Baldomero and Jesse “Reflex” Gotangco were among the top six in the b-boys division.

Meanwhile, Yani “Yani” Talam led the top four in the b-girls division along with Debbie “Hate” Mahinay, Reynalyn “Lady Cheeze” Palattao and Ndrhea “Dei” Archivido.

“We really showcase the players, we really showcase the individual b-boys and b-girls so that the mass, the mainstream and the underground really get to know them and are excited to watch them. in every showdown, in every qualification that we have,” said BBAP Performance Director Lema Diaz.

“At the same time, they are pushed to do an excellent job in view of the Paris Olympics in 2024. We have two years to go for the gold. BBAP is really aiming for gold for Paris 2024.”

On the streets of New York, breaking made its debut as an official sport when it appeared at the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympics in Argentina.

Its successful staging in Buenos Aires prompted the International Olympic Committee to include breaking as one of the four new sports in the Paris Games along with skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing.

Thirty-two of the top breakers – 16 men and 16 women – will qualify for Paris via the World Dancesport Federation World Championship 2023, five continental qualifiers and various Olympic qualifying series in 2024.

Break as a job

As the country attempts to follow the momentum started by weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz at the Tokyo Games last year when she clinched the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medal, breakers like Añas believe they can replicate his feat.

Añas, 21, fought for a place in Buenos Aires and even reached the final qualifier for the Youth Games, the World Youth Championships.

“We have a very big chance of winning the gold medal, especially for us b-boys, who are extremely dedicated to our craft,” said Añas, who earned the top two spots in the BBAP event. alongside Vergara.

“It’s the Olympics we’re talking about and not just the underground battles. All your hard work will pay off.

Vergara echoed Añas’ sentiments as he sees the Olympics as the door that will pave the way for him to earn a living as a b-boy.

Añas and Vergara grew up together in Las Piñas and developed a brotherly bond during the breakup.

“It will help my lifestyle, my finances, my art, my life. We all struggle and we all go through things in our lives,” Vergara said.

“Doing the Olympics is a great opportunity for breaking or b-boying to be known as part of the sport, not only for the underground but also for the general public.”

In addition to bringing home an Olympic gold medal, BBAP wants to provide a platform for Breakers where they can focus on breaking as a profession and taking care of themselves financially.

“That’s the whole point: to make it a business and maintain our livelihood as dancers. It’s really going to be a craft, people will see how we see it and feel what we feel,” Diaz said.

“At the same time, they’ll also like our culture because it’s authentic, it’s raw, it’s a conversation.”

For the remainder of the year, the BBAP will host matchups that will pit the top ranked players against each other and challenger cups, where breakers from various regions can topple those already in the pro league. – Rappler.com

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