Cal McDonald of Island Top Team stands atop the podium following the Canadian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation B.C. Championships in Abbotsford.

Cal McDonald of Island Top Team stands atop the podium following the Canadian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation B.C. Championships in Abbotsford.

Jiu-jitsu athletes win at provincials

Nanaimo’s Island Top Team was golden at the Canadian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation B.C. Championships this past weekend in Abbotsford.

Island Top Team showed it’s ready to grapple on short notice.

Nanaimo’s jiu-jitsu club was golden at the Canadian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation B.C. Championships this past weekend in Abbotsford, with four athletes combining to win five gold medals.

Robert Biernacki, Island Top Team instructor, said the guys didn’t have as much time to prepare as they would have liked, as provincials were held six months earlier than usual.

“We threw together a skeleton crew of four athletes who wanted to see how they could perform on short notice and ended up with one of our best performances ever,” said Biernacki in a press release.

Cal McDonald led the way, winning gold in his blue belt gi and intermediate no gi divisions.

“Cal’s win was made more impressive in that he is a fairly new blue belt, whereas his division is usually won by competitors with years of experience at this rank,” Biernacki said.

Phil Oweis also took double gold in his white belt gi and beginner no gi divisions, at one point executing a sweep so effective, Biernacki said, that it launched his opponent through the air and “had the crowd gasping in awe.”

Shane Malone took to the mats for the first time this year and won gold in purple belt and silver in open-weight absolute competition. Cory Burton battled through illness to earn silver in white belt gi competition and ended one of his fights in only 10 seconds with a cross choke.

Island Top Team won 14 of its 16 matches at the tournament.