Jiddu Lemos said he has no plans to give up competitive jiu-jitsu despite balancing competitions with a hectic work and family life.
Lemos, 34, claimed gold in the No-Gi (without the traditional kimono) black belt 108-kilogram Masters-1 division at the Zayed Ramadan Tournament in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, defeating fellow Brazilian and defending champion Paulo Pinto 2-0 on points in the final.
Away from competition, Lemos is a jiu-jitsu instructor at the Al Taawun School in Abu Dhabi, is in the final year working on his doctorate in physical education, and has a family to look after.
“When you have the passion to work and compete you can find time,” he said after his victory at the Armed Forces Officers Club.
“I believe, we as teachers need to lead our pupils by example. I take a lot of pride when competing and whatever success achieved for me is respect earned from the kids we train.”
Lemos’ win took his record to 2-1 against compatriot Pinto, the world No 13, in the No-Gi category, while in the Gi division, they have one win apiece.
“It’s always a touch-and-go contest between me and Paulo,” Lemos said. “We are good friends off the mat and enjoy the competition between us whenever we cross paths. I was the luckier one this time.”
The Brazilians, as they have in previous editions of the tournament, dominated the black belt divisions by winning all six golds on offer over the two days.
Adriano Araujo retained his 75kg title, while Matheus Romero took gold in the 108kg class. In the Masters-1 category, Leandro da Silva emerged the winner in the 75kg, with William Nozaro (83kg), Flavio Serafin (92kg) and Lemos (108kg) the other champions.
Only two members of the UAE national team took part in the competition, but both Humaid Al Kaabi and Khalifa Nassrati Al Blooshi were both successful in the blue belt 75kg and 67kg respectively.
“I just love to take part in competitions, be it every week or every month, as long as I’m healthy,” Al Kaabi, 18, said.
“The UAE is now well established as a jiu-jitsu nation and for staging high level competitions. It is there for everyone to see.
“This Ramadan competition for instance, had more foreign and expatriate participants than the Emiratis. The bar is raised at every competition, and for sure, it has improved our own levels as well.”