Medal fights in LA

Central Leader - - SPORT - By BEN ROGERS

Ash­ley Nes­bitt is liv­ing proof that good things come in small pack­ages.

The 8-year-old Block­house Bay res­i­dent has just won a gold and sil­ver at the 2014 Kids World In­ter­na­tional Brazil­ian Jiu-Jitsu Cham­pi­onship in the United States.

Step­ping out­side her com­fort zone and com­pet­ing in Los An­ge­les has been a hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence for the young­ster, mum Fiona Nes­bitt says.

‘‘It has been re­ally hot over there, I think she has been pretty over­whelmed by the whole thing but she has taken it all in her stride so far.’’

It was the first time Ash­ley has been away from home with­out her fam­ily and the first time she has com­peted with­out her mum or dad in her cor­ner. She trav­elled with her coach.

‘‘I think she has found it a lot eas­ier than I have. Ash­ley is pretty in­de­pen­dent, she’s got quite a ma­ture per­son­al­ity, but for me it has been nerve-rack­ing.’’

De­spite the dis­tance be­tween her and her whanau, the proud Nga Puhi de­scen­dant fought her way to a sil­ver in the gi tour­na­ment and gold in the no gi tour­na­ment.

‘‘From what I’ve heard she has had a lot of fun but it is a lot dif­fer­ent to any­thing she has ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore. There was no coach in her cor­ner so she wasn’t able to be coached through her matches which was a first for her.’’

With the tour­na­ment now over Ash­ley is spend­ing an ex­tra week in the US for some more train­ing in Las Ve­gas.

Ash­ley is the mid­dle child of five who all prac­tise mar­tial arts. Her mum says her re­sults have been an eye-opener.

‘‘We would love to take her back again next year. This has made us think she def­i­nitely has a fu­ture do­ing what she is do­ing, so she will get back to train­ing and see what comes next.’’

Photo: LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

Golden girl: Ash­ley Nes­bitt, 8, wins a gold and a sil­ver at the World Brazil­ian Jiu-Jitsu Champs in the United States.

Go on­line to cen­tral leader.co.nz to watch a video of Ash­ley prac­tis­ing jiu-jitsu.

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