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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Ricardo Evangelista wins gold at Al Ain International Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship despite a broken toe

Abu Dhabi-based Brazilian has no plans to rest with sights sets on Russian National Pro Championship on November 4 and the Italian National Pro six days later

Ricardo Evangelista, pictured during the 2016 Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, was victorious last weekend in Al Ain. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National 
Ricardo Evangelista, pictured during the 2016 Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, was victorious last weekend in Al Ain. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National 

Ricardo Evangelista claimed gold at the Al Ain International Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship over the weekend despite competing with a broken toe.

Evangelista, 32, overcame two fellow Brazilians, defeating Luiz Nepomuceno 9-4 on points and twice beating Rodrigo Silva, firstly 8-4 in the four-man league and then 10-4 in the final.

There will be no time to rest for the Abu Dhabi-based Evangelista, though, with the Brazilian insisting he still plans to take part in the Russian National Pro Championship on November 4 and the Italian National Pro six days later.

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“I competed in Al Ain with the injury and won,” he said of the hairline fracture to his small toe which he sustained a week before the competition.

“It’s a bit painful but that’s behind me when I enter the mat. I feel fine to go ahead with my plans and compete in both Russia and Italy, and then head for the Grand Slam Rio de Janeiro from November 16 to 18 in my home town.

“The competitions in Al Ain, Russia and Italy are part of my preparation for the Grand Slam Rio,” added the Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor, who has also been carefully managing a back injury for the last two years.

“At the moment it seems OK. I feel I have recovered sufficiently and want to compete in every major competition. After Rio, the plan is to compete in the Dubai Pro International (on December 28-29) and the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam (January 10-12). I want to do the full circuit and see where I reach.”

Evangelista is currently ranked No 32 in the world. He missed out on the opening Grand Slam Tokyo in July, but won a bronze in the King of Mat at Los Angeles - a competition for winners of Grand Slam events which preceded the LA Grand Slam on September 23-24.

The Brazilian men scooped all seven golds in the black belt open division in Al Ain, but world champion Larissa Paes suffered a shock defeat to Jordanian Yara Kakish by advantage points 3-1 in the women’s 70kg final.

Maha Al Hanaei clinched gold in the women’s purple belt 62kg after beating Brazilian Josilma Viera, by advantage points 3-0 in the final.

Her younger sibling, Asian Games silver medallist Mahra Al Hanaei, bagged her third successive gold when taking the juvenile blue belt 57kg final over compatriot Al Mazrouei by submission.

Also on the podium were the UAE’s Asian Games representative blue belts Wadima Al Yafei (49kg), Hessa Al Shamsi (55kg) and Bashayer Al Matrooshi (63-juvenile).