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Last Updated: Friday, 27 June, 2003, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
The king of keepie-uppie
Abbas Farid
Abbas Farid demonstrates his ball skills
Many people speak of staying on the ball but one young Welsh man has shown he is an expert at staying under one - and keeping it up indefinitely.

Abbas Farid has been crowned freestyle football champion of Britain - or keepie-uppie king.

The 19-year-old from Newport proved he was at home with the ball on his head, chest or foot, and had no problem keeping it off the ground longer than anyone else.

The sport is relatively new as a competition but Brazil is one other country which also has its own national champion.

The country also holds the world record for straightforward keepie-uppie in the form of Milene Domingues, perhaps better known as footballing star Ronaldo's estranged wife.

Abbas Farid may not be quite in that league himself yet but certainly has the right attitude towards his sport.

Milene Domingues
Milene Domingues is world keepie-uppie champion

"It's a lot of practising, repetitive practising, and you have got to practise to make it look good as well," he told BBC Wales.

"Sometimes you can do a trick and someone has to do the same thing but person will make it look better."

He attributes his interest in the game to watching the more traditional professionals during international competitions.

"World Cup '98 was what mostly inspired me, watching Ronaldo, the Nike Pavilion, the airport advert, that sort of got me into the mood."

As a result of gaining the champion title, the keepie-uppie king will now have the chance to show off his skills in front of a very big crowd.

He will give a demonstration in front of thousands of fans at Manchester United's Old Trafford ground during one of their home matches.




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23 Jun 03  |  South East Wales



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