SAINT BARTHS – St. Maarten’s SXM BJJ team had a strong showing at the 2nd annual St. Barths Kids BJJ Open tournament on Saturday, January 21.
Some 55 athletes were represented by 3 teams: St. Maarten’s SXM BJJ/Team Renzo Gracie, St. Martin’s ‘Ecole de Judo’ and Saint Barths Ju-Jitsu team. Team SXM BJJ took 1st place in 6 out of 10 kids divisions and closed out (earned gold and silver) in 5 out of the 10 divisions.
Ten-year-old Keziah Hoeve took gold and Natalya Munoz took silver in the female lightweight division. Naomi Benjamin took gold in female middleweight. Caiyden Marlin took gold and Jet Fleming took silver in boys lightweight. Connor Scripps-Ewing took gold, Lukas Hassel took silver in boys middle weight.
Omarion Thomas earned gold in his middle-heavy weight boys division. He was the only SXM BJJ athlete among 5 French athletes. Gweldo Fontaine took gold and Shaquannie Vanterpool took silver in boys heavy weight. Amani Mitchel took silver and Leandro Zabala earned bronze in boys middle-heavy weight.
SXM BJJ athletes Tristan Ahlip, Sarai Willemsberg, Sierra Meyers, Adam Comlekcioglu, Alyna Comlekcioglu, Seybian Ortega and Jayden Brooks also made a strong showing.
Adult ‘super-fight’ exposition matches were also held. SXM BJJ Coach Charlesson Reymond, who holds the rank of blue belt, matched a St. Barths Blue belt fighter Rony Beal, and won his match via submission in just over two minutes.
Sixteen-year-old Ruben Gerault also had two ‘superfight’ matches. He faced 15-year-old Liam Hennequin (wearing the gi/kimono) and won via submission in 30 seconds.
He then faced 24-year-old MMA fighter Zack in a no-gi submission wrestling match. The crowd was treated to an exciting back and forth match that displayed a high level of proficiency. Ruben lost via submission, but displayed incredible heart and maturity.
Local ferry provider The Great Bay Express graciously sponsored the group of athletes, coaches and family members, who joined the team to lend support. SXM BJJ Head Professor Melissa Bardfield is very thankful to the Great Bay Express ferry for making the trip feasible for the team for the second year in a row.
Jiu Jitsu mom Yiselle Fuentes-Castillo also made a generous donation of two large boxes of bananas for the team to share.
All of the young athletes demonstrated great maturity and discipline and those who did not win their matches learned important lessons. Due to strict visa requirements to enter St. Barths many students who hold passports from other Caribbean nations were not allowed to enter the island.
SXM BJJ looks forward to showcasing the talents of the entire team and the next tournament to be held in St. Maarten in the spring.
For more information about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes in Cole Bay visit www.sxmbjj.com.