Constance Lien after winning world title: I hope this inspires girls at home
Singaporean ju-jitsu exponent, 19, wins blue-belt featherweight crown at World IBJJF Championships
Ju-jitsu exponent Constance Lien was caught in a triangle-choke submission in the finals of the World IBJJF Championships, with just 20 seconds standing between the Singaporean and her dream of becoming a world champion.
Lien, 19, was leading against Brazilian Jaine da Silva Fragoso, 21, in that final bout in Long Beach, California, on Friday morning (May 31, Singapore time). But, with her opponent’s arm restraining her neck, she had to hold on long enough to turn her dream into a reality.
She told The New Paper through a phone interview that her win was an emotional one, with tears trickling down as soon as the buzzer went off.
“Before I went on my knees and bawled my eyes out, I actually screamed! It was a whole drama scene. I cried, I ran to hug my coach, and then to the stands to hug my dad and bawled even more,” she said.
The Temasek Polytechnic graduate, who is on a gap year to focus on her training, powered through six rounds of fights in the blue-belt featherweight division to become a ju-jitsu world champion.
Lien, who was named the Sportsgirl of the Year at the Singapore Sports Awards earlier this month after winning an Asian Games silver medal in ju-jitsu last year, revealed that her hardest fight came in the quarter-final against Julia de Jesus Alves of Grappling Fight Team.
“That fight was the toughest. I was up against (Alves) who won the absolute category - no-weight category - of the blue belt at this competition last year,” she said.
“Then in the final, I was fighting her teammate Fragoso, and Alves was helping her out on how to beat me. I told myself to just give it my all and see where it takes me.”
On the podium, Lien was instantly promoted to a purple belt. Next, she will be competing at the Jiu-jitsu Asian Championships, which serves as a SEA Games qualifier, in Mongolia in July.
“It was my dream to become a world champion… Now, my dream again is to become a world champion at the purple belt,” she said.
Teco Shinzato, her trainer at Evolve MMA gym, was proud of Lien’s feat.
“We are all extremely proud of her achievements and her newly deserved title as a Brazilian ju-jitsu world champion. She has a very bright future in ju-jitsu and I'm very excited to see her continued success,” he said.
Besides winning the title, Lien is happy to put Singapore on the world map among the ju-jitsu community.
She said, with a laugh: “No one knew where Singapore was and they were so impressed with my English. But I just hope this inspires girls at home to know that anything is possible.”