PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - On May 28th, 2016 young Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes from Renzo Gracie St. Maarten (SXM BJJ), St Barths and French St. Martin competed in the first annual Saint Martin Open Kids Tournament in Concordia.
This was the second tournament Dutch side Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes competed in, the first event was in January in Saint Barths. A major challenge for the Saint Barths tournament was the visa requirements for numerous students who did not hold Dutch or French passports- luckily this was not an issue for traveling to Marigot!
Stand out athletes include 13 year old female competitor Alyna Comlekcioglu who won all her matches by submission against boys. 9 year old Keziah Hoeve, 10 year old Connor Scripps-Ewing and 11 year old Gweldo Fontaine all won their divisions. Ajae Dayday, Annie Urdaneta, Omarion Thomas, Adam Comlekcioglu took silver. Kevin Bernard also took second place, only losing one match on points to a much larger opponent. 11 year old Naomi Benjamin took third place after only a few months of training. Chantal Williams, Lukas Hassell, Amani Michel, Brunillio Bandin, Kleyian Carter, Damaine Jackson and Natalya Munoz also fought bravely.
Head Instructor Melissa Bardfield was very proud not only for her student’s technical skills but also their respectful behavior and good sportsmanship. “There is no losing in Jiu Jitsu, there is only learning”. Special thanks go to all the parents who support the program and who came out to support and cheer for the team. Volunteer referees included Charlesson Reymond, Wesley Hendriks, Allan Di Lucia and AUC student Jaan Hansen.