Mildura Weekly : Friday January 10 2014 Vol 8 No 10
www.milduraweekly.com.au 78 Mildura Weekly – 10/01/14 By VINNIE RODI TWO former Mildura residents and Mixed Martial Arts experts – who now call Melbourne home – re- cently returned to Australia after enjoying arguably the experience of a lifetime. Partners in life and in sport, Mixed Martial Arts fighters Shan- telle Thompson and George Tu- uholoaki had the chance to com- pete at two prestigious events – the World No-Gi IBJJS Championship and Melbourne International. Held in November in Los An- geles, Shantelle and George had to earn their way into the World No- Gi tournament – which featured the best fighters from across the globe. George went on to win two bronze medals at the World Titles – the only Australian competitor to medal at the event – while also adding two gold medals to his collection at the Melbourne Inter- national, while Shantelle won a bronze at the Worlds, and four gold at the Melbourne International. Describing the experience as “life-changing,” both talented fighters caught up with the Mil- dura Weekly this week while visit- ing family over the Christmas/New Year period. “The sport is just on another level in the US,” Shantelle said. “It was amazing to not just be fighting against some of the very best fight- ers in the world, but to be doing it in a place like Los Angeles.” George said it had also been in- spiring to rub shoulders with long- time professional fighters. “It was amazing to see the num- ber of UFC-contracted fighters in attendance, while also socialising with and learning from other com- petitors,” he said. “From the moment you walked into the room at the World No-Gi Championships there were world- class fighters everywhere. “It was hard to not feel over- whelmed. “Just being there and being able to step onto the mat and compete was an achievement in itself, and Shantelle and I from that point just tried to relax and enjoy the experi- ence.” Another highlight for the for- mer ex-Mildura Mixed Martial Arts- trained veterans came a few weeks prior to the World No-Gi event, with Shantelle and George receiv- ing an opportunity to attend a training camp run by professional MMA fighter Robert Drysdale. The camp was an opportunity to prepare for the international tournament, while also working alongside some of the best MMA fighters in the business. “I have never felt more men- tally, physically or emotionally drained in my life,” Shantelle said. “The camp was incredible – the way Robert trains his fighters is extremely professional and old- school. “Training took place in non-air conditioned gyms – designed to simulate conditions in Brazil.” George said the camp had also proved that Australian fighters – es - pecially those in Mildura – were on the right track. “Training with Mick Moloney at Mildura MMA for so many years has certainly provided Shantelle and I with the basics, and a sound foundation,” he said. “Working with Robert demon- strated just how well those basics have been passed on, as we were able to adopt his techniques very quickly. “I definitely think that Mildura- based fighters can continue to do well not just on the national cir- cuit, but the international circuit as well.” Qualification for the World Championships came at the Grap- pling Tournaments Australia com- petition, where Shantelle and George were joined by another Mil- dura fighter, Maka Tanginoa. Shantelle and Maka went on to win their respective open weight di- visions at the event, while George finished second in his division. It’s a result that saw Shantelle and Maka automatically qualify for the World No-Gi Titles, with Maka gifting his spot to George so he could share the experience with Shantelle. Both fighters said that they had undertaken a strict diet and train- ing regime heading into the World Championships to ensure they were in peak condition. “The majority of our days start- ed at 4am, and to be honest we were both training like elite ath- letes while also working normal jobs,” Shantelle said. “These results are a fantastic recognition of the hard work that we have put in over the past few months.” Shantelle said that focus would now turn to future tournaments – admitting the pair had well and truly caught the “international trav- el bug.” “Our plan is to return to the World No-Gi Titles, while also at- tending the Mundrial World Gi Championships,” she said. MMA pair claim World Championship bronze • FIGHTING PARTNERSHIP: Former Mildura Mixed Martial Arts fighters Shantelle Thompson and George Tuuholoaki proudly display the medals they won at both the Melbourne International Open, and World No-Gi Championships – held in Los Angeles. Shantelle and George are pictured TOP and BELOW in action. 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Friday January 3 2014 Vol 8 No 9
Friday January 17 2014 Vol 8 No11