by Waylon GalvezFilipino Jiu Jitsu fighters Annie Ramirez and Meggie Ochoa took silver and bronze medals, respectively, in the 2018 Fukuoka International Championship Grand Prix organized by Master Japan Academy over the weekend at the Kasuya Dome in Fukuoka, Japan.
With only five participants in the -64kg division, Ramirez advanced to the championship round when she defeated Nozomi Dai during their semifinal match last Saturday.
However, in the finals, the 26-year-old Ramirez was penalized by two points towards the end of the match that proved costly against Yuki Uchiyama to settle for the silver medal.
“Sayang gold medal sana,” said Ramirez in a message to the Bulletin.
As for the 27-year-old Ochoa, she fought at a higher class at the 53.5kg category where there were only four participants and lost to Axix Fukuoka in the semifinals via submission with the score tied at 2-2.
The setback, according to Ochoa, was a learning lesson as she hopes to correct several of her strategies and improves as she prepares for more international events leading up to the Asian Games this year.
“I did not get the desired result but it was such an honor and a privilege to fight alongside really tough browns, blacks and purples (belt) of Japan,” said Ochoa in a Facebook post.
“My opponent was a really tough brown belt who ended up winning the gold, and our match really opened up holes in my game that I am grateful to have discovered at the start of the season,” she added.
The two, both gold medalists in last year’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, are hoping to get a medal in the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia.
Next for the two fighters is the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in London, where Ramirez and Ochoa, a 3-time International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation World Champion, will compete in their regular weight category – the former still at -65kg while the latter at -55kg.
“We’re hoping na maka-compete doon, malaking event kasi yung, very crucial preparing for the Asian Games,” said Ramirez, a two-time gold medal winner in the Asian Beach Games.