Jiu-jitsu ace Annie Ramirez clinches gold in emotional win at Abu Dhabi World Pro
MANILA, Philippines—Filipino martial artist Annie Ramirez fought off the United States’ Sophia Dalpra, 5-4, to clinch the gold medal in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship Wednesday at Mubadala Arena.
It was an emotional win for Ramirez, who nabbed her first gold in the competition after a tense final as the 28-year-old had to wait for the referee’s verdict after the 4-4 deadlock in the female purple belt 55-kilogram title match.
“This is my first gold in four years in the World Pro and it means a lot to me and my country,” said Ramirez, as per The National. “I got emotional because I have never won a gold on a world stage.”
“It was a close fight and with the points tied, it was a long and anxious wait before I was declared the winner,” added Ramirez in The National’s report.
Mabuhay ang #galingngAtletangPilipino! 🇵🇭Congratulations to the 2019 Abu Dhabi World Pro Gold Medalist Annie Ramirez!#parasainangbayan
Posted by PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) on Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Ramirez wasn’t a newcomer to the competition after competing in the World Pro, the more popular term for the tiff, twice in the blue belt division and once in the purple division in 2018.
The victory was also of precious timing for Ramirez with the Philippines hosting the 2019 Southeast Asian Games from late November to early December.
“I didn’t give up on my goal of winning the gold in the World Pro,” said Ramirez. “It also comes in a time when the Philippines will host the SEA Games in December.”
Ramirez is also a judo black belt but switched to jiu-jitsu in 2013 and went on a medal haul ever since.
Although she hadn’t won any international hardware as a judoka, Ramirez tallied gold medals in the Asian Beach Games in Thailand and Vietnam in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
“It took me around two years to get adjusted to jiu-jitsu but I’m glad I made the switch.”