Fighting all over the world

by Gazette Reporter

European jiu jitsu champion Darragh O’Conaill is looking at a hectic close to 2013, with a jam-packed schedule of competition beginning this weekend at the London Open where he has previously taken two gold medals.

The East Coast Jiu Jitsu Academy head coach will then head on to California where he will compete for the world jiu jitsu championships on November 2 before taking on 16 of his fellow high flying brown belt competitors at the world jiu jitsu expo which is slated for November 9.

On returning from the Golden State, O’Conaill is scheduled for a stop off in Lisbon for the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials before his frenzied schedule finishes at the Dublin Open, due to take place in Westmanstown on Sunday, December 1.

Speaking with GazetteSport, O’Conaill explained how he believes he is in prime condition to hunt for the peak of the podium in all the events, with help from his jiu jitsu royalty coaches, Saulo Ribeiro and Rafael Lovato Jr, aiding the process.

“Training has been going really well. I just had Saulo [Ribeiro] over for some seminars and before that I got some great sessions in with Rafael [Lovato],” said O’Conaill. “Going between the two of them guys would have anyone sharp and I’m really confident heading into these competitions”

The Monkstown man highlighted how he believes beginning his tournament trail in London may help him build up some momentum heading into the world championships, due to his previous successes at the event.

“With the London Open it’s always in the same venue, the same opponents and I’m completely focused on getting the win. I’m very comfortable there and I can’t see anything else happening but me taking home the gold medal.

“Last year it was kind of like a launch pad for me. I won the nogi Europeans in London and then I went on to appear in the Kumite. Hopefully this year I can take a win there into the world championships,” he said.

Out of the five highly anticipated tournaments that O’Conaill is due to compete in before the end of 2013, one in particular sticks out.

“A world championship has always been my goal and this is the best position I think I’ve ever been in to win it. It could be my last chance to win it as a brown belt, and I’m more confident than ever before to take that gold medal home.

“It’s the competition that everyone wants to win, and I’m no different. It would be a huge deal for me and I can’t wait to get out there on November 2,” he said.

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