Lithuania’s Dominika Banevic will compete at the Paris Olympic Games next year when breaking makes its debut and the 16-year-old continued her preparations when she took part in the Red Bull BC One competition in Paris which ended this weekend.
It was the 20th running of the breakdance tournament, which has been at the forefront of bringing the sport to a wider audience, especially the rise of one-on-one competition when crew events had previously dominated.
Banevic had previously only attended the BC One B-Girl World Final as a spectator, being too young to take part, but this year her invitation to the event was never in doubt, having won the World and European Championships.
A measure of how hot the competition was at Roland Garros in Paris was shown by the fact that three of the four semi-finalists had already qualified for next year’s Olympics.
Banevic, nicknamed “Nicka”, whose World Championship win qualified her for the Paris Games, faced China’s Liu Qingyi, known as “671”, gold medal winner at the recent Asian Games.
The other semi-final pitted Netherlands’ India Sardjoe, Olympic qualifier as winner of this year’s European Games in Poland, against Ami Yuasa of Japan, runner-up at the Asian Games and yet to qualify for the Paris Olympics.
Nicka came up short against the Asian Games champion but will be happy to have reached the semi-finals of the prestigious competition at her first attempt and in the end the final pairing was a repeat of the Asian Games final.
Although BC One is not an Olympic qualifying event, Ami took some revenge on Qingyi for the Asian Games defeat, winning the event which she also won in 2018, the first time B-Girls had their own competition at the tournament.
The event that ended on Saturday showed Banevic how tough winning a medal could be next year in Paris but as she has said before – “in breaking it doesn’t matter how old you are”.