Joe brings home double gold as part of silver-winning team
Thetford’s Joe Gray has become double National Jiu Jitsu champion while also helping his club to a team silver, writes Hannah Dolman.
The 12-year-old competed in the under-34kg category at both Gi and No Gi disciplines, coming out on top in both events at the annual junior tournament for under-16s.
And the youngster also helped Carlson Gracie Gym in Thetford to a team silver (No Gi) and team bronze (Gi) medals at the competition that was held at the start of the month.
The competitive jiu jitsu fighter has set his sights on next February’s Junior World Championships as his end goal of the year, with competitions like the National Jiu Jitsu Championships seen as perfect preparation.
Dad Joe Gray senior said: “He did just brilliantly. Obviously you can’t do better than double gold and he couldn’t be happier about it.
“He targeted the two golds but it’s still a great moment to actually get them.
“He would have been very disappointed if he didn’t achieve what he set out to do.
“He’s just competing all the time at the moment and just keeps winning.
“It’s absolutely great for him.”
Joe then competed at the NAGA UK Championships last weekend, coming away with a gold in his category and a silver and bronze from other weight divisions.
Gray Snr said they learned a lot about competing and, in particular, when to be a little more forceful about certain conditions.
He said: “It’s a big learning curve for us both, and it was a very tiring day for Joe making it to three finals.
“He was asked to compete in a much heavier category and agreed, rather than leave the lad with no opponent, but it was a very tiring fight and he didn’t get much time before fighting in his own weight.
“We think it had an impact on his performance, he was disappointed and so we learnt we should ask for longer in between fights in future.”
Coach Lee Doski (pictured right) said: “The team medals were fantastic and I’m really pleased for Joe too.”