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DEVVRAT SHARMA
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EVENT 16 ‘freestylers’ turned up to showcase their skills at the Delhi leg of Red Bull Street Style Football 2013

When the grass field turns into mat floor, dribbling gives way to tricks with toes and going ‘around the world’ becomes more important than scoring a goal, we know it’s not The Beautiful Game, but its brash cousin freestyle football that is being talked about.

Delhi recently witnessed its share of freestyle football when Red Bull Street Style Football 2013 came to the city to bring freestyle aspirants closer to their dream of football. The event, which was held at Blue Frog, Mehrauli, was preceded by some weather hiccups as the rain played spoil sport. The venue was shifted indoors from the terrace, but the resulting delay and lack of audience did not dampen the spirits of the participants.

The 16 freestylers were judged by DJ Mash, Manik and Chetan. The rules of the game were simple — two players, one ball and three minutes to perform. Each player was judged on the basis of style, control, technique. The event was divided into three preliminary rounds and a final.

One didn’t need to wait too long to see the level of skill on display. In the first round, freestylers had a go at ‘around the world’ — a popular trick that involves the player playing the ball off one foot, which then circles up and over the ball before returning underneath to play the ball again. Crossover, which involves a player kicking the ball into air by his trail leg, while the other leg goes around the ball, proved another popular trick.

In the next round the freestylers mixed up their tricks with dance. The audience was surprised when the players exhibited various tricks using their lower body without using their hands at all. The round got tougher with more tricks being performed by players. As the show reached its finale, only four — Mark, Henry, Aditya and Michel — remained.

The game picked up as judges asked them to perform again in order to decide who was better, even though time was up.

Mark and Henry made it to the finals, and the crowd had trouble deciding who to root for, as both the Delhi finalists gave it their best. In the end Mark was declared winner of the Delhi round. He along with the three other finalists, will be representing Delhi in Mumbai finals to win and represent India internationally.

DEVVRAT SHARMA

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