Abu Dhabi: Filipina Annie Ramirez burst into tears as soon as she was declared the winner against Sophia Dalpra of United States on referees’ decision after being locked 4-4 on points.
It was Ramirez’s maiden gold at the Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu Jitsu Championship, where she was competing in the female purple adult 55kg at the Mubadala Arena on Wednesday.
“I have been here four times, but it is the first time that I’m winning gold. I’m very happy as this gold medal means a lot to me,” said an ecstatic Ramirez, following her hard-fought win.
“This is my first medal here and hence you are seeing much emotion. We have the South East Asian Games in Philippines in December, so it is a great result before that,” said the 28-year-old, who switched to jiu jitsu from judo six years back.
“It wasn’t an easy switch from judo to jiu jitsu. There are lot of moves from judo which we cannot use in jiu jitsu. It took me two years to adjust to jiu jitsu. I knew this was the path for me despite starting with judo,” said Ramirez, a black belt holder in judo.
Apart from pursuing her jiu jitsu aspirations as a fighter, Ramirez is also a coach.
“I teach jiu jitsu back home, including to hearing-impaired children. This win is also for them because it can inspire them as well. Next year I want them to compete here,” added Ramirez, who also bagged golds in the 2015 and 2016 Asian Beach Games in Thailand and Vietnam, respectively.
Meanwhile, the UAE’s Bashyer Al Matroushi, on her debut in the female adult division of the blue 55kg category, finished with a silver.
She lost the final to Brazil’s Julia Alves 2-0 on points.
Fighting in the same category, Asian Games silver medallist Mahra Al Hinaai had to be content with fourth place.
Al Hinaai, who also had the option of competing in the juvenile category, lost the bronze medal contest to Greece’s Nikoletta Zarkadi.
The UAE finished the day with four silvers.
The UAE’s Khalifa Nassrati Al Beloushi, the youngster with stubbed fingers, also settled for silver following his loss to Roiter Lima of Brazil 5-1 on advantage points in the male purple adult 56kg category.
Saeed Al Mazroui bagged silver in the male purple adult 62kg while Nour Al Harmoodo completed the tally with a silver in the female blue 70kg.