It was a big week for Evolve MMA students at the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) athletes bringing home an impressive total of four medals. Representing Singapore, Evolve students Noah Lim and Constance Lien won gold medals while Paul Lim and Fiona Toh won bronze medals. An effort to be proud of for all involved!
With the grappling art making its SEA Games debut, the competition was full of talented and hungry competitors hoping to bring glory to their nations. To medal, the competitors were required to win multiple matches against various opponents all in the same day.
Having started their BJJ journeys at Evolve MMA, Noah, Constance, Paul, and Fiona have risen through the ranks to represent Singapore on the international stage.
Brothers Noah and Paul Lim were up first, with their division competing on the first day of competition. Noah powered his way through the 62 kg division, winning all his matches and collecting the gold medal with a submission victory over Thailand’s Kuntong Suwijak in the final. Paul clinched the bronze medal in the 69 kg division by beating Indonesia’s Mastur Imam 6-0 in his final match.
“Winning gold at the Jiu-Jitsu SEA Games debut feels great. My brother and I have been training really hard for this competition, constantly drilling and studying techniques with our training partners at Evolve MMA under professor Teco Shinzato,” exclaimed Noah after his historic victory.
Reflecting on his accomplishment, Paul shared, “The competition was tough. There were no easy matches. I wanted the gold, but I’m happy with my performance because I managed to execute all the techniques I practiced in training day in day out at Evolve MMA. I will continue to train but compete less next year as I’m planning to move up a weight category.”
Traveling to the Philippines with his students as a coach for the Singapore National Jiu-Jitsu Team was BJJ World Champion and Evolve Instructor Teco Shinzato. Reflecting on the first day of competition, Teco said, “This is the first time Jiu-Jitsu is being represented at the SEA Games, and Noah Lim made history by getting the first gold medal for Singapore. He is an extremely talented athlete with great technique, and he showed it. Paul Lim had a good chance of getting a gold medal, and it was such a close fight, but he still medalled and took home a bronze. There’s a good representation of Singapore athletes at this debut. They’re all equally as dedicated.”
“As an Evolve MMA instructor and a coach of Singapore’s National Jiu-Jitsu Team, I’m very proud of the achievements the athletes have made and am very focused on taking care of the team. I’m so blessed to have been able to play a part in their pursuits for a medal.”
After a successful first day for Evolve’s Singaporean heroes, day two of the competition saw Constance and Fiona suit up in their gis. Having won the Asian Games silver medal in 2018 and a BJJ World Championship earlier this year, Constance was the hot favorite going into the competition, and she didn’t disappoint. Blazing through her opponents, the 20-year-old won her quarterfinal match 27-0 and her semifinal match by submission to advance to the final against Vietnam’s Nguyen Ngoc Tu. In the final, Constance implemented her game to perfection, submitting Nguyen via bow and arrow choke to clinch the gold medal in the 62 kg division. Fiona also put in impressive performances to clinch the bronze medal in the 55 kg division.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, but I’m very blessed to have made it to finals with my Evolve MMA coach, Teco Shinzato, teammates, and association behind me. I wouldn’t be in this position without them and am glad I managed to achieve my goal of winning the gold medal for Singapore,” shared a jubilant Constance after adding to her trophy case.
Although she acknowledged that she had room to improve, Fiona was justifiably proud of her achievement, saying, “I feel really proud to have won a bronze medal but I feel like I could have done so much better, especially in my second match where I made a couple of mistakes and let my opponent get ahead of me. For me, competition is a lot more of a mental challenge than a physical one. I’ve been training at Evolve MMA for five years now and constantly try to improve my game in all aspects.”
Speaking about his students’ achievements on day two, Teco was once again over the moon. “Constance has grown so much since she started training Jiu-Jitsu with me at Evolve MMA in 2015. I’ve said it before, I truly believe she has the potential to be a Black Belt World Champion someday. She has a lot to be proud of, and I believe she will lead the charge and take Jiu-Jitsu to new levels for women in the sport in Asia. She is one of the best athletes I have ever had the opportunity to teach at Evolve MMA. I’m very happy how far women have come in the sport and that there is a good representation for Singaporean females at this debut. Fiona is also another talented athlete, and she put up a tough fight and is bringing home the bronze for Singapore,” commented Teco.
With a total of two gold and two bronze medals won by Evolve students, it’s safe to say that the future of BJJ at Evolve MMA and in Singapore is bright. With BJJ World Champion Teco Shinzato sharing his knowledge with the next generation, there’s bound to be more trophies and medals in the lion city’s future. Congratulations to Teco, Noah, Paul, Constance, Fiona, and all involved with Singapore’s National Jiu-Jitsu Team’s successful SEA Games debut!