Many years ago, a reader wrote to ask whether I thought the trivium should be made part of the school curriculum in T&T.
Rio Claro cousins—Selwyn John and Anderson Marcano—shared the King of the Rock title on Wednesday night when the two squared off at the National Carnival Commission (NCC) stick-fighting finals. No clear winner was declared in their bout. The cousins tied for the top spot after they refused to draw blood from each other when they met in the gayelle for their bout at Skinner Park, San Fernando. Campbell Trace Gayelle emerged as the champion after Learie Licorish, 38, destroyed his competitor, Shawn Lange, of Arouca Gayelle in the final, much to the delight of the audience that packed the park. Licorish dedicated the win to stick-fighter Ancil John, who died last year. “It is really a joy. It is the first time I really enter. I play a few years but to win is a joy. “To win for my team, it is a joy for us because one of our brothers who used to play with us passed away last year and we come this year, we say we taking it home for him and we do it. “We take King of the Rock and the gayelle...Ancil John we take it home for him,” Licorish told the T&T Guardian after his victory.
Campbell Trace walked away with $30,000. King of the Rock third place went to Daniel Koylass, of Gran Couva #1 Gayelle. It seemed that Koylass’s fighting spirit followed him outside the gayelle as he clashed with police officers twice. He was later arrested for obscene language when he went on the microphone and issued an open challenge to stick-fighters present to meet him in the gayelle if they dared. Koylass’ arrest later prompted the disqualification of his gayelle from the champion gayelle contest. It was left without a competitor since two of its stick-fighters were wounded and Koylass was arrested. Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas and Minister in the Ministry of Finance Rudranath Indarsingh were on hand to witness the bouts. San Fernando mayor Kazim Hosein, who also attended the finals, said he was pleased with the crowd turnout. In the King of the Rock final Marcano was pitted against John of the Rio Claro Gayelle. Mere minutes into the fight John lowered his bois and told the ringmasters he could not fight his cousin. John declared: “I cannot damage my family. I would rather step out of the bout.” Marcano, who appeared stunned by John’s actions, stood silently as he watched his cousin walk out of the gayelle.
The judges declared a tie, both men were equally matched during their fight. They will share the $15,000 and $10,000 prize money. The audience did not seem to mind as they continued to revel and dance to the infectious sounds of the chantwells and African drumming. In that bout Marcano, of Campbell Trace Libertville Gayelle, was bleeding from a head wound he sustained in his bout with Evon Ralph, of Arouca Gayelle. Ralph was disqualified in that King of the Rock bout after he struck Marcano in the head using an illegal hit and drew blood. His disqualification was one of four at the finals. The first disqualification came in the champion gayelle bouts. Sherlon Joseph, of Gran Couva #1 Gayelle, was disqualified for “hounching” (stabbing his competitor with the end of his bois) during his battle with Terrence Marcano, of Campbell Trace, Libertville Gayelle. The second disqualification came in the King of the Rock bouts when Peter Noel, of Arouca Gayelle, failed to enter the gayelle to face Moses Ralph, of Mayaro Gayelle. Moses was declared the winner of that bout. Chants of “wood, wood, wood” resounded around the park after Marcano became the first competitor to draw blood in the gayelle. Marcano’s bois struck Quincy Jones, of Gran Couva #1 Gayelle, in the hand and cut his palm.
King of the Rock: Selwyn John of Rio Claro Gayelle/Anderson Marcano, of Campbell Trace, Libertville Gayelle (tie).
Champion of the Gayelle:
1) Campbell Trace, Libertville, Gayelle
2) Arouca Gayelle
3) Rio Claro Gayelle
(Gran Couva #1 disqualified, no stick- fighter competed)
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