O’Neil Odel defends stick fighting crown
By Gayelle King Thursday, February 7 2013
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DEFENCE: O'neil Odel, right, blocks a blow from Selwyn John during action Tuesday night in the National Stick Fighting championships at Fun Splash wat...
O’NEIL ODEL is the King of the Gayelle (fighting ring) for another year. Odel successfully defended his crown at the finals of the National Stick Fighting competition on Tuesday night at the Fun Splash water park in Debe.
The Mafeking, Mayaro, stick fighting troupe led by Moses Ralph was adjudged the Kings of the Gayelle and were awarded a cheque for $30,000 from Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar who was on hand to take in the action as fighters demonstrated the art of the bois (stick) fight in front of an appreciative crowd which “oohed” and “ahhed” at every blow and parry by fighters.
Persad-Bissessar had Government Whip in the Lower House Dr Roodal Moonilal looking a bit nervous as she brandished a bois in his direction.
The crowd, which began gathering at the venue from as early as 6 pm, soon filled the bleachers surrounding the gayelle resulting in scores of patrons unable to enter the arena to witness the matches.
However, several would-be spectators, undaunted at being denied entry to the arena, assembled at the back gate in the hope of hearing the sound of bois striking bois and they were not disappointed as the unmistakable sounds could easily be heard from as far away as the M2 Ring Road.
Meanwhile, spectators inside the arena cheered on their favourite fighters and remained riveted to their seats, in spite of an incessant drizzle, as blow upon blow rained down on the bruised combatants.
Odel, who mastered the art of the bois in the village of St Mary’s in Moruga, emerged with hardly a scratch as he defeated all comers in the gayelle. There was a visible police presence on both the M2 Ring Road and SS Erin Road as police officers kept a watchful eye on those spectators who were unable to enter the arena and also to ensure a smooth flow of vehicular traffic.
Also attending the finals were Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas, and head of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) Allison Demas.