Seventy-nine players are confirmed to play tomorrow in the first rounds of the 2006 FPA World Championships in Berlin. That number could balloon to more than 90 if pre-registration estimates hold. This is by far the largest FPA World Championships in more than a decade, so large that a qualifier round has been added to the Open Pairs competition.
Tonight, players gathered at SCS Sportcenter to register, relax together and of course jam. As dusk fell around 9 pm, the lights were turned on, and the freestyle action heated up, with at least four mob-ops cuffing, brushing, rolling, kicking and sometimes even catching in the humid Berlin air. The freestyle would have continued into the morning hours had the lights not gone out around 11.
Tomorrow will be the Open Pairs Qualification and Preliminaries, the Co-op Preliminary and the Mixed Pairs Semifinal. Tomorrow will be the first time the new Qualification round has been used at an FPA Worlds. With up to 40 Open Pairs teams, the cut will be brutal to even play in the Preliminary round.