Anglin juggles way to South Africa
Aaril Anglin juggles the ball wih the sole of his sneakers during the national finals of the Red Bull Street Style competition at Emancipation Park on Saturday. - Contributed
Jamaica to the World ... again!
The Red Bull Street Style World Finals will welcome St Thomas-born Aaril Anglin, who, on Saturday, showed the near 800 people in attendance and his fellow street stylists how to really control a football, at the National Red Bull Street Style National Finals at Emancipation Park.
Anglin will join 44 participants - winners from all throughout the world - in South Africa, in the ultimate street style battle. He expects fierce competition from this elite group, but he is confident in his ability to do well.
"I am excited about going to South Africa and competing against the world's best street stylists," said Anglin. "I have a lot of training to do before now and April but I am determined to do well for Jamaica."
The principle of Red Bull Street Style is largely 'everything goes'. Just like in a normal game of football, participants are not allowed to use their hands or arms to control the ball, and it is also forbidden to disturb their opponents in any way during their 20-second segment. During the battle, both the ball; and the competitor must stay inside the competition area - a circle measuring seven metres (23 ft.) in circumference.
A battle comprises two players squaring off against each other in a three-minute session to showcase their footballing skills. Each player receives the ball for a 20-second segment, before having to pass it over to his/her opponent. The winner of the battle advances to the next round.
At 4 p.m., DJ Jason and MC Otis Hamilton started spinning and presenting the first round of qualifying battles in which the 16 participants went one-on-one to define which eight freestylers would pass to the next round.
The quarter-finals saw the defeat of defending champion, Aquel Fonseca, to Anglin, in a mouth-watering and skills-packed showdown - by far the most competitive battle.
Fonseca, who represented Jamaica in Brazil in 2009, had beaten Anglin in the '09 national final but emerged on the receiving end this time following their very engaging and exciting battle.
Cornell Thomas from St Mary battled Anglin in the finals. Thomas had great technical skills and style, but he was no test for Anglin, who wowed the crowd with 11 consecutive 'around-the-worlds' in a high-energy performance.
One of the judges, Andre Virtue, was exceedingly happy about the day's event.
"Some great players came out today and put out their best. There is a natural flair and creative side to Jamaican football and I am pleased to know that this talent will be shown once again on the world stage."
Also in support of the event was national head coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore and the Reggae Boyz, who spent time at the event before their final training for the match against Canada.
The World Finals, to be held in April in South Africa, is a three-day event.
After free training and the group draws, the group elimination rounds will take place with the 44 finalists' battling it out in eight groups. The top two from each group will advance to the final round, where the last 16 compete one-on-one in knock-out mode.