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Athlete with Down syndrome receives Black Belt in Jiu-Jitsu

Fabricio Galvão demonstrates how the technique should be performed (Photo: Robson Boamorte)
Fabricio Galvão demonstrates how the technique should be performed (Photo: Robson Boamorte)

An acclaimed sport’s news website in Brazil, www.globoesportes.globo.com, published on December 28 an article about Fabricio Galvão, the first Jiu-Jitsu athlete in the world with Down syndrome to receive the Black Belt. The Brazilian reporter Robson Boamorte met Galvão in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso and tells his history:

“Fabricio Galvão is 30 years old, lives in Cuiabá and leads a normal life. He is extrovert, talkative, studious and loves to practice sports. And, he does it well. So much that he just won a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu, which is the maximum graduation in this martial art for his age. According to the Sports Jiu-Jitsu Federation of the State of Mato Grosso (FJJEMT), Fabricio is the first Down syndrome carrier in the world to achieve such merit. Exceeding all expectations, he got where no special athlete could ever managed.

– And he is here by merit. I was not going to graduate him if he was not good. I’ve never seen anything like it in over 50 years of sport. Fabricio has a great determination and is very dedicated. So much that he trains with normal people. We consulted the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation and they informed us that Fabricio is the first in the world to win the black belt – said the master Francisco Fernandes, known as Chicão.

Fabricio has been practicing Jiu-Jitsu for 10 years and started under the influence of Chicão through a social project in APAE (Association of Parents and Friends of people with special needs) coordinated by him. Despite the benefits that the sport brought to the athlete, his family was against it at first.

Fabricio Galvão and his family: example of persistence (Photo: Robson Boamorte)
Fabricio Galvão and his family: example of persistence (Photo: Robson Boamorte)

– I was kind for just let him start. I thought it was a violent sport, but now I see how much Jiu-Jitsu is important to Fabricio. He was already well sociable, but now he is even more. Motor coordination is better and he loves to go train. For us it is a joy to see him among the other fighters – said the father, Antonio Rizzo.

To get here, Fabricio went through some difficulties reported by the mother, Jacira Galvão. She says she was devastated when she discovered that Fabricio had Down’s syndrome, but would never give up on her child.

Fabricio Galvão athlete with Down syndrome (Photo: Robson Boamorte)
Fabricio Galvão athlete with Down syndrome (Photo: Robson Boamorte)

– My first reaction was sadness; even more because the doctor told me a lot of bad things like he could never walk, and could not do anything. But I always believed that was a way. We seek support, and from birth we saw that he was active, restless. This was calming; and then we realized Fabricio was really special for the way he lives – reported.

– God only puts weight for those who can carry – completed the father.

Aware of the interview, Fabricio was all smiles when he heard his name. Given the chance to speak he showed all his sympathy.

– I became stronger, look here! (Shows his arm muscle). I am healthier and now I want to get in the Olympics. I love to train, there I find my crew – said Fabricio despite his dream of participating in the Olympic Games cannot become true, as jiu-jitsu is not yet an Olympic sport.

However, Fabricio can start dreaming about the Worlds. According to Francisco Fernandes Junior, son of Chicão, the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation) must soon launch the Special Worlds, so athletes with disabilities can compete.

– I’ll get there, that’s my goal – finished Fabricio.

Today, in addition to training three times a week, the special athlete also assists the master Chicão in class, especially with beginners. Being a sportsman, Fabricio has another passion: surfing.

– This January I go to Rio de Janeiro to practice again. I love to fight, to take down the opponent, but I also like surfing.” said the Black Belt

Fabricio Galvão helps Chicão teach classes (Photo: Robson Boamorte)
Fabricio Galvão helps Chicão teach classes (Photo: Robson Boamorte)

 

 

 

 

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