Raphael Abi-Rihan was one of the standouts at the Brazilian Nationals 2009, winning his weight group after submitting Tarsis Humphreys in the final with a straight armbar. All the fighter wanted was to defend his title this year, but a knee injury has put him on ice.
“I really wish I could say I’ll defend my title, but I got injured at a competition in Niteroi two months ago. I tried to go on normally, but couldn’t. I did physiotherapy and alternative treatments, but I’ll have to operate. The funny thing is that I’ve managed to recover from injuries requiring more complicated surgery before, on my spine and knee. The meniscus is something simpler and there’s no way around it. Any exercise I do swells up my knee. I can’t even train with my students, imagine competing. I’m limited and out of training,” says Abi.
According to the Carlson Gracie representative, the operation should take place next weekend and, after a month of recuperation, he should be back in training. Thus he guarantees he will head full steam into the Rio Open, which he also won in 2009. Moreover, he may show up twofold at the Tijuca Tennis Club.
“I won’t be able to defend my title at the Brazilian Nationals but, if all goes well, at the Rio Open I’ll be 100%. I also want to do the International Master, which takes place alongside the Rio Open. This year I want to fight in that division,” he says.
If he can’t be in the Brazilian Nationals, which kicks off this weekend, Abi guarantees that at the very least he’ll be there to watch all the goings-on.
“On the first weekend I’ll be there to oversee my students and may even work as a referee. On the next one I may have been operated on and it will be more difficult to be there. I want to, but even if I can’t be there, I’ll keep up with everything on GRACIEMAG.com!” said our faithful reader in finishing.