Dominyka Obelenyte first placed at the World championship in 2008, as a juvenile blue belt, at 12 years of age. Back then, she met Mackenzie Dern in the lightweight final and had to settle for the silver medal.
After that, she won at least one gold medal in Long Beach every year with the exception of 2009. Last year, her first as a black belt, was the year she rose to stardom with a spotless campaign for double gold at only 19.
One year later, we caught up with Dominyka as she took a break in her training at Marcelo Garcia’s academy to talk about how she’s coming to defend her titles. Here’s what she had to say.
GRACIEMAG.COM: As you prepare for the 2016 Worlds, do you think about last year’s event. How does the experience of 2015 helps you mentally for another great campaign this year?
Dominyka Obelenyte: I try not to think too much about the past apart from letting it propel my confidence to repeat the results. I did, however, evolve the game from 2015 into something more comfortable for my body and more comfortable for the competition mats.
GRACIEMAG.COM: You hurt your knee during the weight division final of the 2016 Pan and could not compete in the open class final. Are you completely healed? How much the injury got in the way of your training routine for the worlds?
It hasn’t been too much of a hindrance. I could walk on the leg without crutches the very first week I came back from Pan, and I can use it to full capacity to train now.
GRACIEMAG.COM: The female division is more stacked every year. As you get to the academy every day to train, do you think about the possible opponents you might have to face in Long Beach? Do they influence your training routine in any way?
I used to think a lot about the people I had to compete against, watch their highlights and all to prepare for the matches, but now I don’t really care. I know the girls that I go against are top level competitors and I don’t discredit their abilities, but I also feel confident in my own game and my ability to wrap people up in it. The unknown aspect of what’s going to happen on the match when we slap hands is something I look forward to every year I go to Worlds.
Don’t forget to register for the 2016 World Jiu-Jitsu championship before the May 24 deadline.
Click here to sign up now.
Coverage brought to you by Gameness Sports.