More success for young jiu jitsu stars at Blackpool International
The TF Fitness Centre Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team from Berwick were in action again last weekend when they attended the Blackpool International Open, a tournament that attracted 450 athletes from across Europe.
First on the mats for the team was Hayden Ainslie, who had the biggest division on the day, knowing if he wanted gold, he would have to go through four fights.
He submitted his first opponent with a choke, then went on to win against one of the favourites for the gold on points in his next.
His third fight saw him secure another submission via a choke, and in his fourth fight, for the gold, it was a tight affair, decided in the last 10 seconds of the three minutes when his opponent gained one advantage point, giving him the win and Hayden silver.
Next up was Cody Leighton, who was his usual all-action self. In his semi-final fight Cody thought he had won, but the referee had made an error in scoring, and in a cruel fashion took the win from him and gave it to his opponent on points, meaning a bronze medal for the Berwick youngster.
The Anderson brothers were up next. Unfortunately, the opponents in Duncan’s intended division didn’t turn up, meaning he won gold by default.
However, Duncan didn’t travel all that way not to fight, and asked if he could join another division. He ended up facing a heavier, older opponent of 10 (he is still six), and put up a good battle, but lost on points, earning a bronze medal for his work. Two medals on the day for Duncan!
The other two brothers, Rory and Oliver, were merged into the same division, but put at opposite ends of the draw, and in a somewhat inevitable fashion, both submitted their first opponents and ended up meeting in the final,
As with the previous week though, the team sportsmanship kicked in and they refused to fight each other, a toss of the coin determining that Oliver won, although he was quick to say that they “both won gold”.
Matheos Ferreira hit the mats next, and in typical whirlwind style, breezed through his division with minimum fuss, winning his final via an armbar, adding another gold medal to his already impressive collection.
Owen Wood had to move up a division in weight due to lack of entries. Owen had a tough opponent in his semi-final, but controlled the fight very well, and despite having several tight holds in place, couldn’t get the submission win, but won on points.
In his final, the weight advantage of his opponent was obvious from the start, but Owen fought well and almost took the fight to the end, but was caught by an armbar late on, meaning it was a silver medal, but certainly a well earned one.
Jevon Leighton then had his turn, and fought very well in a tough division, which was again merged with another.
In his semi-final fight, it ended up a draw at six points each, and in yet another heart-breaking day of refereeing decisions for the family, his opponent was given the win.
Jevon used this injustice to go into the bronze medal fight and defeat an extremely tough opponent by two advantages to one to gain the bronze.
It was a very similar story for Lewis Welsh, in only his second competition. He lost in his semi-final on points to the eventual gold medallist.
In his bronze medal fight, he defied his lack of experience to completely overwhelm and dominate his opponent en-route to a points win. This saw him on the podium with a bronze.
Caitlin Young also had no opponents in her division in the juvenile section, but decided to step up to the adult division – and what a stunning performance she gave, making her way to the final and then putting on an absolute master class to defeat a much more experienced opponent.
She won the fight via an armbar. At the time she was 16-0 up on points, complete domination well beyond her limited experience.
Assistant coach at the TF Fitness Centre Kev McCulloch entered the adult division in his first competition in 18 months and only back training three months after a yearlong lay off.
He fought like a true warrior in a division that was the biggest on the day. He won his first fight in his own style, wining via an armbar, and repeated the victory in his next fight, taking a points decision win.
In his semi-final he was leading, but made a small mistake that his opponent pounced on, and lost via submission.
He went on to fight for the bronze medal and despite having his opponent in a tight armbar, lost his grip and was forced to submit to a very tight choke, just missing out on a medal.
His attitude to his defeat was inspiring to the youngsters as he vowed to get back on the mats, train harder and get fitter for next time.
Every single TF competitor had to work for their medals, and they were all well earned.
In total, 10 children, 11 medals, four gold, three silver, four bronze and one near miss from assistant coach Kev.
The next focus is the North East England kids’ league in Newcastle on Sunday, August 14.