Roger Sambury copped the 2019 National Stick-fighting title at the Arima Velodrome on Wednesday night.
St Mary’s resident Sambury defeated Anderson Marcano, from Princes Town, to the delight of a packed audience who gathered at the Velodrome to witness one of the Carnival staples.
In the final, Marcano and Sambury initially entered the gayelle and danced in circles feeling out each other, almost like a boxing match but with one-inch thick poui branches that were as much as four feet long as their weapon of choice.
Sambury was visibly larger than his opponent, but this was a battle of skill rather than strength.
Sambury leant into Marcano early in the fight, striking his opponent on the shoulder and then on the back.
It drew a loud gasp from the audience. Less than 30 seconds after the restart, Sambury stormed towards Marcano once again, his height and power catching the latter off guard and sending the Princes Town fighter to the floor.
Sambury helped Marcano off the floor to restart the fight but there would be no such thing.
Once back on his feet, Marcano handed his stick to one of the ringmasters, as loud screams of “Bois” could be heard from the audience, who stayed to the end despite a heavy shower early on in the proceedings.
Sambury then gleefully started victory celebrations by hoisting his stick into the air as the ringmaster lifted him off his feet, crowning a new King of the Rock.
Selwyn John, who was king of the gayelle two years ago, had to settle for third this year in the event which celebrates the historic traditional stick fights of yesteryear.
The tradition continues throughout Trinidad and Tobago, especially in the rural parts such as Princes Town, Moruga and La Brea where the best fighters come from.
Reporter: Ryan Bachoo