For all those contesting in the Red Bull Street Style India competition this year, there was just one mandate. They had to #BringIt. They had to bring their A-game to the circular stage. Which, they did. And how!
Yesterday, Kolkata was witness to a highly dramatic final of the competition. The historic Princep Ghats was the perfect setting in the fore of which, all the action took place. The rains did try and play spoilsport and even succeeded for an hour. But the battles resumed post that.
Finalists from Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata congregated for the National Final and went at it! In a head-to-head battle, each participant performed for 30 seconds before passing the ball to his fellow participant. The rules of the game were simple: 1 ball, 2 players, 3 minutes. They were judged on variety, control, technique and style.
Michael Keishling, winner of the Red Bull Street Style 2010 and Archis Patil, a Guinness and Limca World record holder in the freestyle soccer were the star attractions of the evening.
After 3 hours of battle, Pradeep Ramesh emerged as the winner. The second and third place went to Archis Patil and Akshay Yadav respectively. Pradeep Ramesh will now compete with winners from 40 other countries in the global finals of Red Bull Street Style in Italy this September. Also accompanying him will be Michael Keishing, who has been the winner for the last two seasons and goes to Italy as a wild card entry this year.
Current Indian goalkeeper, Subrata Pal, was extremely impressed with the young freestylers he was invited to judge. “The youngsters showed tremendous technique and skill. Red Bull Street Style is a perfect platform for people who are passionate about soccer and don’t get the opportunity to showcase their skills. It’s critical that this competition continues to thrive so that we can find more players like Michael Keishing and Pradeep Ramesh who can represent India at the global platform,” said Subrata Pal at the award ceremony.
“It is great to see how football has evolved over the years and how Red bull is promoting three attributes of football- control, technique and style in an innovative format. Red Bull Street Style helps youngsters improve their skills with the football which will help India produce quality footballers in the long run” said illustrious footballer Jamshed Nasiri who was also judging at the National Finals of Red Bull Street Style.