Gi or no-gi, Checkmat boasts some of the best jiu-jitsu athletes in the sport, and the gym’s sterling reputation was on full display at the No-Gi Pan Am tournament last weekend in NYC. After a long day of guillotines and take downs, Checkmat found its way to the podium on numerous occasions, claiming third place overall in the Women’s and Juvenile divisions.
First of all, HELL YEAH, what a day. Let’s gloss over some of the individual highlights that made it possible:
ABSOLUTE BROWN BELT CHAMP Vedha Toscano:
Our very own Vedha Toscano — you all know her, and if you don’t, wow — put on a super impressive display, clinching bronze in her stacked brown belt division. But even better: Vedha won GOLD IN THE ABSOLUTE DIVISION, avenging her semi-final loss to claim the beastliest honor.
Vedha also got written up in FloGrappling and took this excellent photo on the podium. Parabens, Vehda:
Black Belt Silver Medalist Mike Kalika:
Kalika fought hard in the Master 2 black belt division and added another medal to his big haul of silverware.
Black Belt Master 1 Champ Alan “Finfou” Nascimento:
There was a large Checkmat contingent from Sweden at Pan Ams, and they didn’t fly halfway across the world to lie down at the tournament. Brazilian Alan Finfou, a black belt under Ricardo Vieira who teaches in Stockholm, has been tearing through the competitive circuit for well over a decade, earning all sorts of medals and accolades. Basically, he’s an absolute legend.
Finfou did his thing and won gold in the black belt Master 1 bracket, as this podium pic demonstrates:
Other Checkmat winners:
- Jansen Gomes won double gold in the Juvenile blue belt division. Rivas tells me he “single handedly” earned Checkmat the third place Juvenile crown.
- Gabriel Almeida won the silver medal in the brown belt Adult medium heavyweight division.