Nanaimo jiu-jitsu athletes showed they belong on the mats with the best in the world.
Island Top Team representatives Robert Biernacki and Monica Bonczak earned bronze medals at the IBJFF World No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Anaheim this month.
Biernacki, Island Top Team instructor, won two matches in his masters medium heavyweight division, including out-pointing the reigning no-gi Pan Jiu-Jitsu champion.
“I came close to submitting the eventual gold medalist in my third match before fatigue set in and I gave up some points in the final minute,” Biernacki said in a club press release. “Bronze at no-gi worlds is by far my most significant competitive achievement, more than any of my local tournament gold medals, as I got to prove my skills against some of the best grapplers in the world for my age group.”
Bonczak earned a pair of bronze medals, one in her blue belt masters lightweight division and the other in the open weight absolute division.
“Monica got a rematch against the gold medallist from her weight class, beating her on points, and defeated a super heavyweight medalist via triangle choke to secure bronze in a very impressive double medal performance,” the release noted.
Also at no-gi worlds, Cal McDonald reached the quarterfinals in the masters black belt heavyweight division and Mark Lovegrove also made it quarters in the blue belt masters’ ultra heavyweight class.