Lions Mixed Martial Arts Club members Janessa Llego-Finney and Kenji Ishida each captured two gold medals in the Naga Hawaii Grappling Championship on Oct. 26 at Admiral Arthur W. Radford High School in Honolulu.
Llego-Finney claimed two gold medals in the Teens Gi and No-Gi female advanced division and won a silver in the Teen Gi Female expert Division.
Ishida captured gold in the Kids Gi and No-Gi Male intermediate division.
Jayden Manibog captured silver and bronze, while Noah Durant won two silver medals in the Kids Gi and No-Gi intermediate male division in the off-island competition.
Sensei Mo Fernandez was happy with his students.
“We did well in some of our competitions,” he said. “For some of our competitors, it was their first time in the competition, and we tested the waters. They had fun and want to keep competing. I was overwhelmed with their fighting spirit.”
He said tournaments like this are hard to win.
“Emotions are flying all over the place,” Fernandez said. “You don’t want to have to separate yourself from your family. To win everything, you have to do things you don’t want to do and give a lot of yourself.”
The Lions MMA Club will continue to prepare for on-island competitions set for later this month.
“I am super proud of my team,” Fernandez said. “Watching them compete is beautiful and nerve-wracking. It’s like watching my kids out there. They work very hard, and their honor is very well-deserving.”
Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.