Adriano Araujo finished on top of the podium at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship for the first time after seven attempts on Tuesday.
The Brazilian won the black belt 77-kilogram final against Canadian Jacob Mackenzie in extra time after a scoreless fight in regulation period at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena.
After clinching gold, Araujo raised his hands and beat his chest before walking away from the mat in tears. Araujo dedicated the win to god and his 10-month old daughter Sofia.
“I got emotional because I didn’t train as much as I did in my previous six visits and still won gold and this win was from god,” he told The National.
“I came here for six years with the best preparation and in the best shape, yet I couldn’t achieve what I achieved today.”
Araujo could not train the way he normally would before a top-flight competition due to coaching commitments, which he said was to support his young child.
“I had to wake up at 3.30am to get to work,” he said. “I return home in the afternoon for a break and then back to work in the evening.
“I don’t get to be around and play with my little daughter because she is asleep when I get back home. It’s very hard life but today was one of those beautiful days.”
Araujo had a tough route to the final. He overcame David Ben Zaken of Israel by points 1-0, Portuguese Delcio Santos 9-0 and compatriot Rafael Carvalho 8-4. He also came through a qualifying round the previous day.
Meanwhile, fellow Brazilian Claudio Calasans ended a four-year wait as he won his sixth World Pro gold. He outclassed his former jiu-jitsu pupil Arturo Salas of Spain by points 4-3 in the Masters-1 black belt 85kg final.
Casalans, 38, is one of the rare competitors who also took part in the inaugural World Pro in 2009. He won double gold in 2010 and followed it up by taking finishing on top in 2011, 2012 and 2017.
“This was an amazing contest,” Casalans said. “I trained him [Salas] a long time ago when he was a purple belt. What a coincidence to meet him in the final of a big championship.
“It was a tough passage to reach the final but I’m glad to have added another gold in Abu Dhabi. This was reward for the hard work I had put in for this event.”
Brazilians won six of the seven golds that were on offer in the men’s Masters-1 division with Korea's Chae Wan-ki denying them a clean sweep when he clinched the 62kg final from Gabriel Moraes by points 2-1 after two VAR replays.
Luiz Ribeiro, Leonardo Saggioro, Renato Cardoso and Igor Silva were the others to return with wins.
In women’s black belt Masters-1, Brazil’s Adriadne De Oliveira and Marina Ribeiro bagged two of the five gold medals.
Serena Gabrielle of Italy, Mongolian Buyandelger Battsogt and Katiuscia Dias of Guinea-Bissau took the remaining three.