Hastings brothers strike gold in Albania

Soni and Kiri Dauti, of Gracie Barra Hastings, wearing their gold medals at a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament in Albania.
Soni and Kiri Dauti, of Gracie Barra Hastings, wearing their gold medals at a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament in Albania.

Two Hastings brothers have just returned from Albania - where they both struck gold in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament.

Kiri Dauti, 12, and 10-year-old Soni Dauti, who train at Gracie Barra Hastings, won two fights each to win their divisions at the Albanian Open championship.

And what’s even more impressive is that this was the first tournament that the young fighters had ever entered.

Both used Americana arm locks to make their opponents submit in one of their fights before winning the other on points.

Paul Bridges, head instructor at GB Hastings, said it was a tremendous achievement that showed they had the potential to become future champions.

“I am very proud of them both,” he said. “It takes a lot of courage to compete in tournaments and to come away with gold at your first attempt is fantastic.”

The Albanian Open was held in Saranda, a coastal resort in the south of the country, and organised by black belt Dorian Lapaj.

Lapaj, who previously trained in England, is Albania’s first black belt - an honour he received from Victor Estima, who is one of the most respected names in the world.

Estima, whose achievements include being a Nogi middleweight world champion, is also regional director of Gracie Barra UK.

BJJ has established itself as one of the world’s most effective and fastest-growing martial arts - and it’s one that appeals to people of all ages.

It came to global prominence when Royce Gracie used the techniques to win the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) back in 1993.

Its combination of throws, joint locks and ground-fighting techniques make it ideal for both sport and street self-defence.

Juniors start out as white belts and progress through grey, yellow, orange and green - before joining the adult grading scheme when they reach 16-years-old.

Adult beginners start as white, and then move through blue, purple and brown, before reaching the coveted black. The journey typically takes nine to 15 years.

Gracie Barra Hastings, which is open Monday to Saturday, caters for all ages from three-years-old to adults and recently launched classes specifically designed for the over-50s.

If you are interested in giving it a go, call Bridges on 07967 659867 or visit www.graciebarrahastings.com

Benefit from an ongoing discount on your Observer by joining our voucher membership scheme. Once you’ve subscribed, we’ll send you dated vouchers which can be exchanged for your paper at any news outlet. To save money on your Observer, simply click here (www.localsubsplus.co.uk)