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Ochoa reclaims world crown

I beat her in 2018, but she won the JJIF world title in 2019 and 2021.

Meggie Ochoa ruled the world stage anew as she won the gold medal in the women’s -48kg event of the 2022 JJIF World Jiu-Jitsu Championships late Thursday (Manila time) at the Zayed Sports City in United Arab Emirates.

Ochoa, who became the country’s first world champion when she ruled this event in Sweden in 2018, added another gold medal to her collection following a masterful 2-0 victory over longtime rival Vicky Hoang Ni Ni of Canada.

Prior to that, she demolished Oana Lupu of Romania in the Round of 16, 14-0, Oleksandra Rusetska of Ukraine in the quarterfinals, 9-0, and hometown bet Abdulkareem Balqees in the semifinals, 22-0, to set the stage for a final showdown with the Canadian ace, who held the world title after beating Ochoa last year.

“I beat her in 2018, but she won the JJIF world titles in 2019 and 2021,” said Ochoa shortly after her masterful triumph.

“But we are friends. We get along well on and off the mats. It’s nothing personal.”

Ochoa said she worked hard to reclaim the world title.

“It was all for God’s glory. It was all his work,” the 30-year-old former Ateneo de Manila University grappler said.

“I just wanted to bring glory to God. That was all that was in my mind as I was competing.”

The world crown is just another feather on Ochoa’s cap.

The former Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games champion, grabbed the silver medal in the IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championships in California last July and the 2022 Pan American IBJJF Championship in Florida last April.

She will also see action in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia next year.

This is actually the country’s second gold in the prestigious tournament.

Kimberly Custodio grabbed the country’s first gold when she ruled the women’s -45kg division on Wednesday.

Custodio defeated Southeast Asian rival Kacie Pechrada of Thailand, 6-4, in a thrilling final showdown.

She also dominated Sakaew Tadaporn in the semifinal, 14-0, after crushing hometown bet Hamdah Al Shkeili, 14-0, in the quarterfinal.

With two gold medals under its belt, the Philippines came up with an impressive finish as it landed just behind the host country, Canada and Germany in the final ranking of the adult category of this prestigious 23-country tournament.

Also part of the national contingent were 2021 JJIF bronze medalist Jenna Kaila Napolis, Ashley Villaret (women’s -52kg), Myron Mangubat and Jan Cortez (men’s -62kg), Brendo Pudan (men’s -69kg), and Philip Elegre (men’s -85kg).

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