This past weekend, the IBJJF kicked off its first of many Summer Open competitions, and they started things off at the famed Tijuca Tenis Club in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The building that has hosted the likes of Marcelo Garcia, Roger Gracie, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and many others opened its doors once again to many young and old competitors to see who would walk away with gold in their respective category.
Through the four-day long tournament, the crowd got a chance to see competitors of all ages, ranging from fifteen to sixty years old, as this was not only the Rio Open Championship but the International Masters and Seniors championship as well. So, not only was the crowd able to see the new faces of the sport, like purple and brown belt standouts Joao Miyao, Marcio Andre, Jackson Souza and Victor Santos, but they were also able to watch past legends of the sport like Eduardo Telles and Saulo Ribeiro compete as well. With that being said, one can tell that this past weekend at the Tijuca Tenis Club was one to remember.
In the adult black belt category, the big standout was Gracie Barra’s Romulo Barral, who won both his weight category and the absolute, making himself the Grand Champion of the entire championship. Just like at the Worlds, Barral proved his doubters wrong by dominating the competition, defeating opponents such as former European champion Igor Silva, Vinicius Marinho and Victor Bomfim (all representatives of GF Team). One goal that Barral has always set his sights on is the World absolute title, and this win definitely puts him in the right direction heading into 2013.
Another standout in the competition was Jose Tiago da Silva of PSLPB Cicero Costha who defeated 2004 World champion Gabriel Moraes. Under the wing of Costha and along with his teammates Leandro “Lo” and Joao and Paulo Miyao, Silva has been gaining a lot of momentum as this is his second major tournament win. In his last IBJJF championship, he submitted Ary Farias in the final to become the light-featherweight champion. Hopefully in 2013, we will see this rising star come to the U.S. and compete at the World championships, barring any problems with money or a visa.
In the “old man” category, the big name, as usual, was none other than former six-time World champion Saulo Ribeiro. Coached by his younger brother Alexandre throughout, the IBJJF Hall of Famer put on a show for the crowd, dominating everyone up until the absolute final. In the final, Ribeiro went head-to-head with Eduardo Telles, who has one of the trickiest styles in the sport as he is famous for his deceiving “turtle guard.”
In the final between the two legends, Ribeiro did not take too many risks and was able to rack up advantage points with passing and submission attempts, while keeping the always-dangerous Telles at bay. When time ran out, Ribeiro led by a 5-0 score in advantage points, making him the double gold champion of the masters category.
Well, now that we have the first IBJJF Open in the books this summer, we can start looking ahead to what’s to come in the summer competition season.
In the next eleven weeks, there are eleven competitions taking place, so it’s safe to say that the IBJJF crew will be keeping themselves plenty busy for the rest of this year. Next week, the IBJJF will go north of the border to Toronto and will head down to to Las Vegas the following week for the Las Vegas Open. Then, after stops in Boston and Montreal, the IBJJF will host its biggest tournament of the summer in Carson, Calif., at the American National Championships.
Now that competition season is back, things surely will get more exciting, so make sure you stay tuned for the recaps on all the major tournaments going on around the country and the World. Osss!
Photo: Romulo Barral (R) competing at the Rio Open (Ivan Trindade/Graciemag)