Breakers Dominika Banevič and Victor Montalvo qualify for next year’s Paris Olympics

LEUVEN, Belgium (AP) — Lithuanian teenager Dominika Banevič and American Victor Montalvo both qualified for next year’s Paris Olympics after winning the World Breaking Championship on Sunday.

The 16-year-old Banevič, known as B-Girl Nicka, was the youngest in her category at the event in Leuven, Belgium. She concluded her battle by lifting herself up on her right arm and twisting her body almost completely around. She drew finger-clicking appreciation from her beaten opponent, 40-year-old Ayumi Fukushima of Japan, known as B-Girl Ayumi.

The 29-year-old Montalvo, ranked No. 5 in the world and competing under the name of B-Boy Victor, broke into a huge grin after completing his battle. He was lifted up triumphantly by his opponent, Philip Kim of Canada, known as B-Boy Phil Wizard.

Breakdancing originated 50 years ago in the United States and the hip-hop dance form makes its official debut at the Paris Games.

Rankings are tabulated by the World DanceSport Federation, the International Olympic Committee-approved body that administers breaking battles. Dancers need to win or perform well at WDSF-sanctioned events to earn the points toward qualifying for the Paris Games. Leading b-boys and b-girls, the term for male and female breakers, faced off in head-to-head contests in Leuven, east of Brussels.

None of the American b-girls made it to the top three.

Further Olympic-qualifying competitions are scheduled in China and Chile, through mid-December.

Additional Olympic trials will be held in the early part of next year and run through June 2024. At the end of the process, 16 b-boys and 16 b-girls will compete over two days at Paris’ iconic Place de la Concorde.

The IOC announced three years ago that breaking would become an official Olympic sport.


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