- The American triumphant in the para jiu-jitsu category 8 for amputees at the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival
- The 46-year-old praises growth of the event at Mubadala Arena
- Brazilian Rafael Rodrigues wins in the para jiu-jitsu 17 category
Ronald Mann took just 23 seconds to win gold at the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival 12 months ago.
Fast forward to yesterday and the American was taken the full five-minute distance to claim his second gold by Wataru Horie of Japan in the para jiu-jitsu category 8 for amputees at the Mubadala Arena on Saturday.
“He’s a very strong fighter,” said Mann of his Japanese opponent. “I thought I had his guard passed twice but he was able to manoeuvre. It was an amazing fight.
“Last year the fighters were hand-picked but now I see new faces. I think we now have people coming down on their own.
"I had three other Americans travelling with me and it shows how much this competition has expanded.”
Mann,46, lost his left leg in a motorcycle accident in 1995 and began practicing jiu-jitsu two years later.
“I was the only American invited last year for the Abu Dhabi Festival last year and it was a good way to establish an American presence by winning the final in 23 seconds,” said the former combat medic in the US Army.
Mann takes part in competitions every month back in the United States and has been successful in the Masters blue belt.
He enjoyed some success this year by winning a gold and bronze both in Michigan in January and arrived in Abu Dhabi two weeks after claiming silver in East Coast.
“My goal is to expand jiu-jitsu for everybody,” said Mann. “To be fair, I want categories made for people like us.”
Mann is a member of the USA para jiu-jitsu team and represented the country in the Grand Slam Los Angeles.
“We had a four nations competition with 10 fighters each and we won eight medals, including with some able bodied fighters,” he said.
Rafael Rodrigues, paralysed below the waist after the roof of a building collapsed on his 21 years ago, celebrated his 39th birthday with a gold in the para jiu-jitsu 17 category.
The Brazilian got the better of Ramiro Cardoza 2-0 to replicate his win over the Argentinian 12 months ago.