Aguska Mnich and Erlend Fagerli dominate the first Super Ball with all female categories open
2022 delivered yet another successful edition of the Super Ball World Open Freestyle Football Championships. Truth be told, though, it didn’t just deliver another similar to recent years: the level went through the roof in both Freestyle Football and production!
With 250+ participants from 46 different countries under one roof in Prague, Czech Republic, we were once again treated to an incredible display of Freestyle Football in its purest competitive form. New milestones were reached, with the female side of the sport getting a specific bracket in all event categories for the first time – and this was only fitting after the competition gathered a historic record number of female participants.
The Male Battles category did not disappoint, producing some of the most incredible head-to-head moments the sport has ever seen. After some very tough calls from the judges, it was the same 3 competitors on the podium places again as in 2021, including the devastating Fagerli Brothers from Norway. Erlend once again reigned victorious taking home his 5th Superball title, while his brother Brynjar this time had to settle for 3rd place the Dutch sensation Jesse Marlet was able to edge that little bit closer and finished second. An epic final battle with Erlend went down to the wire —3-2 on the votes from the judges— and no doubt will be talked about for years to come!
The Intermediate Battles offered endless thrills and ultimately great happiness to Finnish fans of the sport, with young Kalle Alden taking the gold against Kazakhstani Abiolat ‘Kuba’ Kubashev. Irishman Sam Madden took third place. The Rookie Battle category, in turn, presented a fantastic clash of cultures and styles and featured an intercontinental final: South Korean Kang Yejun against Dutch Abel de Jager. In the end, Kang came out on top. Frenchman Pablito Molina joined them on the podium by winning the third-place battle against his fellow countryman Clement Thiriet.
The Female Battles, meanwhile, had a similar development to the men’s category, with champions defending their titles and Polish star Aguska Mnich taking home the first place after defeating Jasmijn Janssen from the Netherlands in the final. Laura Biondo from Venezuela claimed third place on the podium. This was the first year the females got to experience their own battle qualification circles, and meant that as many as 8 featured on the finals day.
The level was once again sky high in the other categories too, with many new faces taking to the podium places. The stamina-based Iron Man competition, for example, saw Dutch Hugo Vliese take the first place with an impressive 1-minute-and-31-seconds-long combo in the final. Maxi Masi (Argentina) and Sindre Herre (Norway) can both be very pleased as they claimed second and third place respectively.
The female equivalent, Iron Woman, was one of those categories making its debut this year. It was eventually won by Laura Biondo, who defeated UK representative Becka Hugill in the final, while Cata Vega Piña from Chile had to settle for third place.
Hugo Vliese’s impressive lowers also earned him first place in the Male Challenge category. After a marathon of increasingly difficult combos and tricks for the participants to tackle that went long into the night, the Dutchman eventually held his nerve to come out on top over Anto Sanz (Spain) and Erlend Fagerli, who took 3rd place – a remarkable feat taking into account that this was his first year competing in Challenge.
The Female Challenge, also making its debut, gave participants their own list of rounds that differed from the men’s: Lucie Quinton from France demonstrated some strong lowers and took the first place spot over Laura Biondo (second) and Becka Hugill (third), who were both no strangers to the podium places in the lower competitions from the week.
Anto Sanz would eventually have his moment, though. The Spaniard was victorious in the Male Sick Three category, no doubt for his perfect execution. In second place was Kondzio, from Poland, and completing the set was CBB, from Germany. The Female Sick Three (another held for the first time) had some familiar faces again, with Lucie Quinton reigning supreme in this one also, while Becka Hugill was able to finish as high as second this time. The young Jantje Moonlion from the Netherlands took third place and got onto the podium for the first time.
The Male Show Flow competition also produced some interesting results this year, as freestylers tried to cram lots of tricks into a perfect 30-second set keeping the ball in perpetual motion. In the male category, Erlend Fagerli once again demonstrated his dominance in this category; Sebastián ‘Machine’ Peña (Colombia) took second place, and Simon ‘Simi’ Müller (Switzerland) took third.
The Female Show Flow, in turn, was won by Aguska Mnich (Poland), while Emmi Bjorn (Finland) and Cata Vega (Chile) were able to take second and third place respectively thanks to their impressive rounds.
As far as Routines was concerned, we saw some incredible displays (just when you think you’ve seen it all…!): creativity knows no limits, but it was ultimately the Japanese freestylers who came out on top in both Single and Double Routine categories. In the individual discipline, Leon took first place while last year’s winner, Nick Seyda from the USA, had to settle for the runner-up spot. Another Japanese freestyler, Yosshi, completed the podium trio in the third box.
These same Japanese freestylers featured again successfully in the Double Routine category. Leon and his routine partner Aki were able to get third place, while Anh Tuan & Danh Quang from Vietnam blew the audience away with their incredible dragon costume routine to claim second place. However, it was Yosshi & Yu-Ji who, back once again for another Super Ball, claimed yet another podium place in Double Routine – this time the first place!
Kill the Beat also offered the opportunity for freestylers to demonstrate their musicality skills from a selection of beats and tracks on stage. The first place in this went to Gyoza (Japan) while Yu-Ri (also from Japan) claimed the second place. Finally, in the third position for this category, there was Rey from Panama.
Super Ball 2022 also held another Panna KO competition with players doing battle in the cage, looking to outscore or even put the ball through the opponent’s legs for an instant win. After a long night of Panna action with many skilful participants, it was Jack Downer from the UK (better known as Street Panna) who returned back to winning ways and added another Super Ball title to his name for this particular trophy room. This came after a golden-goal final with Ferjani Safi (Belgium). Steven Sutton (France) took the last spot on the podium.
The judges played an all-important role throughout the week with some tough decisions to be made; even under pressure, though, the team of Kitti Szász, Jordan Meunier, Szymo Skalski, Luki Chwieduk and Juan Astorga held their nerve well under the direction of Miran Pirner. The event would have been nothing, however, without the MCs being the glue that kept everything together. The ever-present Lorenzo Pinciroli, with the precious assistance of Nabil Hamza and Mike Van De Streek, ensured the energy players and spectators needed throughout yet another magical week of Freestyle Football in Prague.