A pair of Braziliant jiu jitsu fighters from Aylesbury got their prestigious brown belts from none other than legend of the sport Roger Gracie.
After years of hard work and training Sahid Khamlichi and former Bucks Herald sports personality award winner Yasmine Wilson were awarded the coveted belts earlier this month.
For Khamlichi, the belt came a year sooner than expected while Wilson becomes the highest ranked competitive female in the UK.
And they had the added bonus of receiving the reward for all their hard work from legend Roger Gracie, whose grandfather Carlos founded the martial art.
A delighted Khamlichi said getting the belt from Gracie was ‘inspirational’.
“To get my brown belt from Roger Gracie is a huge deal to me but also a real shock as I wasn’t expecting it!” he said.
“Roger is a true legend and a complete gentleman. He has been a multiple world champion at every level and if he and Kevin (Capel, Bucks RGA head coach) felt I was ready for the next challenge I do not question or doubt it.
“I wasn’t expecting it until next year but I put my progression down to the fantastic academy we have here in Aylesbury. I would not have proved myself Europe and the UK without it and always feel very fortunate.”
With only two black belt Brazilian jiu jitsu fighters in the UK, both of whom do not compete, Khamlichi’s fellow RGA Bucks fighter Wilson is on the crest of a wave which promises to take her all the way to the top.
Coach Capel said: “Yas has proved she is a top international competitor so the future looks bright for her and when the time comes for her to get her black belt, thre’s a good chance she’ll be the undeniable top female jiu jitsu practitioner and competitor in the country and that won’t be an exaggeration.”
Wilson added: “I was really surprised, I knew I’d been doing well in competitions in LA and Abu Dhabi as well as the UK but it was still a bit of a shock, Roger Gracie is undeniably the best grappler in the world so to receive recognition from him feels very special and I’m looking forward to testing myself at the next level of competition.