Heading for Jui Jitsu gold in US
Five Hamilton Jiu-jitsu competitors are headed to the United States for the Jiu Jitsu World Championships after taking out gold in their respective divisions at a New Zealand national competition earlier this year.
The Waikato Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Academy has a team of five headed to Long Beach, California next month after their Academy placed fifth overall in New Zealand at the Jiu Jitsu No Gi Nationals in August.
Viliami Ballard, 22, Tyler Bromley, 9, Hailey Conway, 11, Morgan Rogers, 10, and Maeana Watene, 41, are in the age-diverse team ready to fly the New Zealand flag at the sporting event.
Co-owner and senior manager of the Waikato Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Academy Amanda Nicolls was proud of her team’s efforts at the No Gi Nationals.
“Maeana was hospitalised before nationals but she still competed,” Nicolls said. “She’s my hero.”
Nicolls describes her team as a humble bunch who would be embarrassed if they heard someone giving them praise.
“Viliami is indispensable and an incredible fighter,” Nicolls said.
“He went up a belt from blue to a purple belt and two weeks after took out gold in his division.”
Tyler ,who has been with the academy since he was three years old, was described as the most charming and most dedicated.
“I’m excited and nervous,” Tyler said.
Hailey and Morgan echoed his sentiments and added they were looking forward to the adventure.
The adults of the team fly over to the states two weeks before the competition for a training camp that has them training three-times a day.
To get to the World Championships in Long Beach, California, each competitor must raise $5000 to cover all their expenses.
Barbecues, raffles and Givealittle pages are being used as some of the ways to fundraise.
“This is a massive opportunity,” Nicolls said.
■ For more information visit the groups’s Facebook page: Waikato Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy.
The Waikato Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Academy No Gi Nationals squad. (Front, from left) Hohepa Gibb, Andre Hopotoa, Hunter Murraysimon, Pheonix Nicolls, Trey Perkins, Logan Fisher, Nevaeha Perkins, Kian Mcnamara, Harmony Nicholson, Tyler Rogers, Oliver Fisher. (Back) Viliami Ballard, Tyler Bromley, Hailey Conway, Morgan Rogers and Maeana Watene.