Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 12th 2015 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, February 12, 2015
It took less than a minute for Rio
Claro Gayelle s Selwyn John to defeat
New Town s Keegan Taylor to retain
the King of the Rock title at the
National Stick Fighting Competition
finals on Tuesday night.
Throwing ferocious blows, 26-year-
old John of Libertville drew first blood
as his prized bois encountered Taylor s
lip in his first strike, causing the large
Skinner Park, San Fernando, crowd to
go into a frenzy.
John s team also crushed their main
contender, the Valiant Brothers , Donald
Lewis, to retain the Kings of the Gayelle
title for the second consecutive year.
Lewis danced around the ring for
most of the five minutes but when the
drums stopped, signalling the end of
the duel, the ring masters found blood
on Lewis forehead.
Speaking about his victories, John
said: "If you don t have the aim positive
in your mind and you go out there, you
can get hurt. So when you go out there,
the game has one rule: If you can t
brakes, don t play."
Asked about his strategy, he said:
"It s the speed of me. The buy-in and
the repeater. The repeater is what is
There was contention among fighters
over some of the ring masters decisions
as the Talparo Gayelle almost forfeited
the King of the Rock competition,
aggrieved over Moses Ralph s loss to
Valiant Brothers O Neil Odel.
When Ralph s son Evon was called
to the ring for his bout, he stood in the
back of the drummers and refused to
fight. Instead, an intoxicated Damian
Pollard showed up and slipped while
firing wild blows at Longdenville s
Barely able to stand up, Pollard kept
falling, leading to the medics having to
attend to him in the ring. Even as he
was being carried off, he tried to wiggle
out of the medics arms, sending the
audience into loud laughter.
Selwyn John, right, battles New Town's Keegan Taylor to retain the King of the Rock title at the National
Stick Fighting Competition finals at Skinner Park, San Fernando, on Tuesday night. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Rio Claro still reigns as King of the Rock
Arts and Multiculturalism Minister
Dr Lincoln Douglas said he
appreciated the danger faced by
fighters and prefered to keep the
competition in its traditional form.
Over the years, fighters have lost
eyes and suffered severe injuries.
Not only the fighters were in danger
during the contest, as
photographers at the ringside and
patrons found themselves ducking
from loose bois.
Douglas said: "Sometimes we are
quick to want to expand things but
sometimes the way things are in a
traditional form, it is the best way
they are suppose to be. I think that
will have to be done very carefully to
make sure it retains the authenticity.
"Of course we can put head gears
on them, gloves, make a nice stage
but you have to really decide if you
want to do those kinds of things or
whether you want to keep it in its
traditional art form.
appreciate the danger and the
willingness of man to go into the
ring. I certainly will not be there in
Sylvester said it was NCC's
intention to expose stick fighting to
the world and would host
competitions and workshops year-
"We will conduct competitions
right through the year from after
tonight so that we can choose
people to go to the States (US),
Europe, London, Africa, China and all
over the world.
"Bois is what we want, bois is
what we will have, bois is what the
world will have," Sylvester said.
Before the competition started,
National Carnival Commission
(NCC) deputy chairman Don
Sylvester announced that the prize
for Kings of the Gayelle would be
increased from $30,000 to $40,000
while second and third prizes would
remain at $18,000 and $12,000
respectively. The King of the Rock
winning was also increased from
$15,000 to $20,000.
But for John, he felt the prize
money was too small.
"For the games that we are
fighting, the money is very small. It
can be better than that but it is in
me. I like the game and that is why I
am here tonight," John said.
DOUGLAS: I APPRECIATE THE DANGER
PRIZE MONEY TOO SMALL
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