Berwick jiu-jitsu students strike gold at British championships

It was another golden weekend for Berwick's jiu-jitsu competitors, with six of them returning from the martial art's British junior championships with winners' medals.

Thursday, 10th March 2016, 07:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 10:43 am

Abbi Rae and Matheos Ferreira both retained the titles they won last year when they topped the podium in Birmingham, along with Jevon Leighton, a silver medal-winner last time around.

All three are reigning European champions, and Rae recently won a world title at Long Beach in California.

And not only did she win her own category on Sunday, but she also claimed the division above, giving her double gold.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Her mother Lani, who was mat-side to watch the competition, said: “It was the perfect Mother’s Day present to come away with two titles.”

Also taking gold were brothers Rory, Duncan and Oliver Anderson.

Another Berwick youngster, Hayden Ainslie, won a silver medal, and Cody Leighton, the younger brother of Jevon, won bronze.

Also competing, but not winning medals, were Owen Wood and Ewan Lowrie.

Rae, who now trains out of a gym in Edinburgh, is a member of the British junior elite squad, and the others all train at the TF Fitness centre in Berwick and are members of the Checkmat team.

Coach Thiago Ferreira said: “Naturally, I am very proud of all the kids and what they have achieved, but, of course, I am particularly pleased for my son Matheos, who bounced back from the disappointment of only taking a bronze in the world championships last month, the first time he has ever tasted defeat.

“He is only seven years old, and to have won his second British title at such a young age is nothing short of remarkable.

“That said, everyone did extremely well, and I am happy for them all, particularly Jevon, who had to beat the current world champion to win his gold medal.”

And the weekend was not just about the junior competitors.

On Saturday, Rolandas Janavicius, of Eyemouth, who also trains at the TF Fitness Centre, and Ferreira himself competed in the sport’s London open.

Janavicius won gold in his division, with Ferreira taking a bronze in his first competitive action for over seven months.

Janivicius said: “It was a hard set of fights, but thanks go to my coach Thiago for all the training he puts me through.”

Ferreira added: “I was delighted to see Rolandas take gold because he smashed his way through the competition.

“For me, it was hard in my first competition for quite some time, but I will come back stronger in the future.”