A 19-year-old Singaporean was recently awarded the gold medal after a grueling finals match at the World IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation) Championships last week held at Long Beach, California.
Constance Lien had a tough grand finals under their category against her 21-year-old Brazilian opponent Jaine da Silva Fragoso on Friday morning. With just a few seconds away from her dream at becoming a world title holder, Lien hold out as Fragoso’s arm restrains her neck in the grand finals, according to The New Paper.
“Before I went on my knees and bawled my eyes out, I actually screamed! It was a whole drama scene. I cried, I ran to hug my coach, and then to the stands to hug my dad and bawled even more,” the teenager told the publication through a phone interview.
Lien, who was recently named as the “Sportsgirl of the Year at the Singapore Sports Awards” in early May for her silver medal win at the Asian Games jiu-jitsu last year, had to push through six rounds of match to take home the world title.
While her final match was not exactly a walk in the park, she admitted that the toughest bout was during the quarter-finals against Julia de Jesus Alves of Grappling Fight Team.
“That fight was the toughest. I was up against (Alves) who won the absolute category – no-weight category – of the blue belt at this competition last year,” Lien told TNP. “Then in the final, I was fighting her teammate Fragoso, and Alves was helping her out on how to beat me. I told myself to just give it my all and see where it takes me.”
She started her path to success some three years ago when she first signed up with Evolve MMAEvolve MMA, and as part of her welcoming gift, she was offered either a muay thai gloves or a Brazilian jiu-jitsu gi (uniform), The Straits Times reported.
Lien initially decided to take up the gloves even though her father insisted she takes the uniform; however, a mother later, the former national swimmer changed her mind and decided to go with Brazilian jiu-jitsu as all of her friends took up the sport.
After her win, Lien was immediately promoted to purple belt. Her next milestone is to compete at the Jiu-jitsu Asian Championships in Mongolia in July that will also serve as the SEA Games qualifier.
“In Mongolia and at the SEA Games we’ll be fighting athletes of the same weight but they could have different colored belts, so I could be fighting people of a higher standard or with more experience,” she explained to The Straits Times.
Winning the competition in California has certainly helped put Singapore on the world map among the jiu-jitsu community.
“No one knew where Singapore was and they were so impressed with my English. But I just hope this inspires girls at home to know that anything is possible,” she told TNP.
Images via Instagram / constancelienjj