Cebuana bags gold in tough Jiu-jitsu meet in UAE

By: Glendale G. Rosal - CDN Digital Correspondent | April 09,2021 - 06:07 PM

Cebuana MMA athlete Angel Sanchez beams with pride as she poses with husband Sharif and their 10-month old daughter who is now the proud owner of the gold medal Sanchez won in a tough MMA tournament in Abu Dhabi, UAE. | contributed photo via Glendale G. Rosal

CEBU CITY, Philippines— Angel Sanchez proved that being a frontline worker, a mother, and a wife can’t stop her from reaching the zenith of her very demanding sport – Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ).

Earlier today, April 9, 2021, Sanchez etched a milestone in her BJJ career after winning the gold medal in the prestigious 12th Abu Dhabi World Masters Jiu-jitsu Championships held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The 31-year old Cebuana, a daughter of public school teachers, dominated the -55 kilogram division beating heavily-favored opponents in one of the biggest BJJ tournaments in the world.

She defeated Laetitia Sousselier of France, 14-0, via submission in the semifinals at the 4:35 mark of their match, then dumped Nawal Bendidi of the Netherlands in the gold medal round, 7-0.

Sanchez told CDN Digital that she did not expect to win a medal considering her opponents are far more experienced than her.

“Wala jud ko nag expect makadaog ko pero ako jud gi prepare akong self to give my 100% jud,” said Sanchez. “Akong husband pud nag sige ug motivate nako that I am the best in my division. Iyaha ko ingnon to always go for the kill. Mao to naka motivate nako ug maayo ug naka set sa akong mind.”

Despite her impressive win, Sanchez admitted that she had difficulties training for the tough tournament.

For one, she works a 12-hour shift every day as a frontline nurse of an emergency room in a hospital in Dubai, UAE. She also takes care of a 1o-month-old daughter on top of her duties as a wife to a fellow BJJ athlete Sharif who also serves as her trainer.

“Naglisud jud ko daan sa akong timbang kay gi caesarian man ko pag panganak nako nag gain ko ug weight. So hinay-hinay ra jud ko pag balik sa exercise. Lisud kaayo i training kay naay pandemic, and sa emergency room ko nag work ron unya 12 hours among shift. Among baby sitter kay part time ra. So, need jud nako mag bantay sa akong baby,” Sanchez told CDN Digital.

Despite the obstacles, Sanchez was very determined to join the tournament hoping to at least salvage any medal. She trained in her home since MMA gyms in Dubai are still closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Akong husband kay competitive man kaayo siya sa jiu-jitsu. Brown belt na siya. Naka apil na sad siya ug world championships. So siya nag training nako. Amoang gihimong training area among sala. Siya jud tanan nag manage sa akong weight, sa akong training ug diet. Lisud kaayo mag training kay among baby mag hilak. Naa times nga ibilin namo siya sa among silingan nga mga taga Cebu ra sad,” added Sanchez.

Sanchez was 400 grams overweight in her initial weigh-in. So she decided to breastfeed her baby and achieved the required weight on her second attempt at the weighing scale.

She also needed to shed off weight again the next day after she enlisted to compete in the female -55kg adult division, where she finished fifth.

“Passion jud nako ang martial arts particularly MMA ug BJJ. It is what I love to do. Gusto ko before ko mag purple belt naa ko world title sa akong blue belt and lipay kaayo ko kay na achieve nako,” she added.

Sanchez, who is also an amateur MMA fighter in Cebu City under Team YawYan ArDigma, said that her ultimate goal in her flourishing BJJ career is to win a gold medal in the world championships.  /rcg

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TAGS: 12th Abu Dhabi World Masters Jiu-jitsu Championship, Abu Dhabi MMA tournament, Angel Sanchez, frontline worker, gold medal winner, mma, mother, wife

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