myBJJ Team took to the mats at the 2015 Australian Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials, held out of the Sydney University Sports and Aquatic Centre, with stellar results.
The trial competition featured kid’s, adult’s and master’s divisions, and is a precursor to find the most qualified grapplers to represent Australia for the upcoming Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championships (WPJJC). Winners of the trials receive an all expenses (airfare, hotel, meals) paid trip to Abu Dhabi for the tournament.
The WPJJC is being promoted as the largest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu event in the world. Supported personally by his Highness the Supreme Prince and Commander In Chief of the United Arab Emirates National Army, H. H. Sheik Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the championship builds on Abu Dhabi’s emergence as a global capital for Jiu-Jitsu, with more than 750 elite male and female fighters from over 50 different countries including the UAE, Australia, Brazil, China, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea and USA, all competing for title of ‘World Champion’ and an increased cash prize of Dhs1.45m.
The day of the Australian trials:
myBJJ Team was represented in the kid’s, adult male, adult female and master’s divisions. The competition was fairly tense as scores of athletes searched for the grand prize – the ticket to Abu Dhabi. With each unfolding division, the crowds grew and the energy of the event increased.
All of our athletes showed great technique and tenacity, fighting through both their weight divisions and open weight divisions, scoring multiple medals for the team. The highlight of the day, however, was realised in our very own coach and athlete, Hope Douglass, as she battled her way through her weight division and into the Purple/Brown/Black belt heavy open-weight, to ultimately win Gold and with it the national title and the travel package to Abu Dhabi.
Here’s what Hope had to say about the event:
“I actually didn’t have very high expectations this year – a medal in my weight class was all that I needed to be happy. I had fought for my chance to win the ticket for the previous 3 years unsuccessfully, and my main motivation to enter the competition this year was to fill the necessary places to support the women’s division and therefore the Australian women’s bjj scene (no prizes are given unless minimum numbers of competitors enter the divisions).
To get to the open-weight division (the prize-winning division), I first had to fight my way through my weight division. My semi-final match was against the champ, Jess Fraser (who has won the travel package for the last 3 years running). Jess is a formidable opponent. I have fought Jess multiple times in the past and spent time training with her outside of competition, so I really do know how good she is – and she went on to beat me by points in our weight division. I then had to fight New-Zealander, Serina Cole, for 3rd/4th place. I managed to pull off an ezekiel choke in this match so placed 3rd in our weight division. Not great results, but I still had the open-weight to look forward to.
Many hours of waiting around later, it was time for the open-weight divisions. I had already lost a match earlier in the day and so felt no pressure to win. I was just there doing my best, however, everything turned out a lot better than I expected. After securing a points-win in the semi-final, I was faced with Jess again in the final. I was very relaxed, I never thought of actually beating her in this match, so I was willing to just roll and take risks. Jess pulled guard straight away, and I jumped pretty much straight into a knee-bar attempt – which was successful. And that was that. Gold for the team and the travel package to Abu-Dhabi to look forward too.
I want to say a huge thank you to Professor Mario Yokoyama – the win is truly his. His coaching, inspiration, encouragement and provision of opportunity is what has brought me to where I currently am. Also a huge thank you to my training partners – particularly Ricardo Laffranchi for his support and coaching, and for letting me drill endless knee-bars and ezekiel chokes on him! And of course, I cannot thank our sponsors enough! Their assistance to date is responsible for the success of many, many endeavours! It truly is a powerful thing when businesses get behind athletes and support their local community. These guys are doing amazing things through us and for us.”
Overall, the intensity of the competition was overcome with success for myBJJ Team this year. Well done to all our competitors and medalists. You have made the team proud!
Onwards and upwards now as we prepare for upcoming comps and for the Abu Dhabi World Pro!