European championship success for Gracie Barra

Wednesday 16th November 2022 6:00 pm
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Alanna Pritchard (right), the island’s first IBJJF European Champion, is pictured next to bronze medallist Colin Everden, Gracie Barra Isle of Man head coach Conrad Roberts and silver medallist Hayley Curtis

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There were local successes at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s European Championship in Rome over the weekend.

A small contingent of five adult competitors from Gracie Barra Isle of Man’s Jiu-Jitsu squad fought at the prestigious event, one of the highest level tournaments in the sport and a highly sort after accolade for any Jiu-Jitsu competitor.

It was the biggest competition the team had entered so far and the results were extraordinary considering the quality of competition they were facing.

Alanna Pritchard became the Isle of Man’s first ever IBJJF European Champion on Friday, winning gold in her division.

This is nothing short of incredible and ends her year of competing in the sport on a well-deserved high. This saw her add to her British champion title earlier in the year and has seen a meteoric rise over such a short period of time.

She is now at university in Liverpool and regularly training at Next Generation MMA under the eye of UFC fighters Molly McCann and Paddy Pimblett.

The rest of the Gracie Barra Isle of Man squad competed on Saturday. Unfortunately for Myles Joughin it didn’t go his way and he lost out by one point in his first round in what was a highly-competitive bracket.

Catherine Moor then came away with a silver in her division after beating a rival from Roger Gracie Academy in the semi-finals. This was a great result for Moor, who has also had a strong year of competition.

Hayley Curtis faced the eventual winner in the semi-final of her weight division and lost out in what was a close match and ultimately led to her taking bronze.

She then entered the open weight category which saw her up against an opponent 20kg heavier in the semi-final, and it was here that her hunger to win really showed leading to victory in that match and ultimately bringing home a well-earned silver medal.

The final division match for the squad was Colin Everden who is one of the lead coaches at the Academy and has been concentrating on coaching for the past few years, only coming back to competition this year.

Everden is known for his takedowns and takedown defence, putting this into good practice in the quarter-finals of his division which saw him win on points after completing one of the best throws of the tournament. This secured him a bronze, a great achievement.

Head coach, Conrad Roberts, who joined the squad for the three-day tournament in Italy, commented: ‘Anyone who has been following our progress in 2022 will have known that the IBJJF European Championships were what we were working towards after stepping up a gear at numerous points throughout the year.

‘I am incredibly happy with the results which are nothing short of astounding and are testament to the squad’s hard work and commitment but also the coaching team including Mark Franklin, Callum Perry and Rob Matthews who have helped the competitors a lot with this one along with S&C programming from Dan Bonett and nutrition from Gianni Fabrizio which has become a staple of the training camps which I devise for the squad.

‘A big thank you goes out to all the students and supporters in the Isle of Man who showed such encouragement while we were in Rome, but also in the lead up to the tournament.’

The team would also like to thank The Crown Group Limited for its kind sponsorship for this trip.

The club is keen to hear from any sponsors who may like to assist in future.

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