Ipswich Jiu-Jitsu champion, 21, aims for world championships
- Credit: Bea Fernandes
A 21-year-old Jui-Jitsu champion is setting her sights on the world title after moving from Portugal to pursue her sporting dreams.
Bea Fernandes has already won the European Championships, held in Italy earlier this year, and is hoping to continue her fantastic 2022 by winning the world championships in June.
Originally from Portugal, Bea moved to Ipswich ten years ago, due to the island of Madeira, where she lived, not having the best job opportunities.
The 21-year-old said: “I was quite an aggressive kid. I wasn’t very good with words so I expressed myself by being aggressive, it really wasn’t good.
“I started kickboxing in high school, but I had to stop because I had to take care of my sisters and my mum wanted me to because I’m a girl and she didn’t want me messing up my face.
“When I was 18 though, I moved out and lived on my own so I could train more. It was really tough though, I had work, college and training to do, I barely got any time to myself.”
Bea says that watching MMA and UFC on TV was what really got her hooked on the sport and made her want to do more.
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“I started doing Muay Thai, and then a coach teaching jiu-jitsu in Ipswich invited me to join in, so I did.
Because I had watched so much of it on TV, I knew what I was doing, and I guess I was naturally good at it because the coach asked me whether I had done it before.”
She was doing both Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu at the same time, but gave up on Muay Thai after competing in more and more Jiu-Jitsu competitions.
Bea said: “I started competing all around England, and I was starting to win, I thought ‘this is going to go somewhere’.
"I then started getting money from competitions, and then before I knew it, I was representing Portugal at the European Championships.
“I felt so good going into that fight, when I won, I saw my team celebrating which was great to see, I didn’t even cry when they raised my arm at the end.
When I got to the podium though, all the emotions just hit me at once.”
Bea will be competing at the IBJJF World Championships in California from June 1 to June 5, and has been fundraising to get there. You can support her here.