Poland's Szymon Skalski tricked his way to the men’s Red Bull Street Style World Final in Tokyo on Thursday, beating Carlos Iacono, of Argentina, as judge and World Cup winner Marco Materazzi, of Italy, looked on.
Hungary’s Kitty Szasz successfully defending the women’s title with a narrow victory over surprise finalist Alice Fougeray (FRA) in front of the famous Zojoji Temple and the iconic Tokyo tower.
It was the first World Finals held in Asia and it lived up to the hype when Szymon Skalski first ousted defending champion and local favourite Tokuda Tokaro in the semis and then grabbed his first world championship title with an audacious show of skill against Carlos Iacono in a packed arena.
Athletes from 30 countries faced off over two days for the world’s most prestigious freestyle football championship title and Skalski hung on in a fast-paced final for the biggest win of his career.
“I am in shock, I am speechless, to have beaten Carlos in the final... I feel very good,” said Skalski.
As the only local hero left in the draw, Kotaro Tokuda enjoyed full support from the crowd from the round of 16 onwards but he had to bow out after a battle where Skalski was near flawless.
“Amazing. I am so happy, whatever happens in the final,” Skalski beamed after beating Tokuda. But he kept his focus with another largely error-free performance to win the title as Carlos “Charly” Iacono saw several mistakes creep into his complex routine.
In the women’s final, Hungary’s defending champion Kitty Szasz narrowly edged past surprise finalist Alice Fougeray, of France, to successfully defend the world championship title she won last year in Lecce, Italy.
Alice stunned the packed crowd when she dumped Melody Donchet, runner up in 2012, out of the competition in the semis and book her spot in the grand finale.
“I was not prepared for this final (against Alice). It was surprising really but I am really happy to have managed to win,” said Kitty. “A big thanks to this crowd. They were absolutely fantastic.”
Red Bull Street Style World Final 2013, Men: 1. Szymon Skalski (POL), 2. Carlos Iacono (ARG), 3. Andrew Henderson (GBR).
Red Bull Street Style World Final 2013, Women: 1. Kitti Szasz (HUN), 2. Alicia Fougeray (FRA), 3. Melody Donchet (FRA)