The stars of team Atos are hard at it in Rio Claro, São Paulo, and there’s no pointing out a firm favorite to be the biggest star from the outfit at the 2011 Worlds. Rafael and Gui Mendes, André Galvão, Ary Farias, Bruno Frazatto, Gilbert Durinho, Guto Campos and others are all in tip-top shape and California-bound to take on what promises to be a electrifying championship, but there are other soldiers from their ranks, too.
The team’s high command is already pointing out a number of promises for this Worlds. They are young champions who have been having impeccable campaigns over the year so far, with recently-promoted brown belt Ronaldo Candido among them. Light featherweight Candido won the Brazilian Nationals as a purple belt last year and the Pan in 2011. On his debut as a brown belt he won last Sunday’s 2011 Brazilian Nationals. “Our money’s on him to be world champion,” ventures Guilherme Mendes, who will also compete as a light featherweight, but at black belt.
Another standout is Denilson Bischiliari, a purple belt who GRACIEMAG.com has already highlighted as one of the athletes to watch out for this season. “Denilson won two World Pro qualifiers, won in Abu Dhabi, and won the Pan. He’s really dedicated, trains with the black belts and is always competing. For sure he’ll reap what he is sowing,” says Rafael Mendes in praise.
Among those from the less advanced belt groups to compete in Long Beach, Walker Pacheco is the big hope at blue belt. Other Atos aces in the Worlds mix are Marcelo Tarso (purple belt) and Bruna Ribeiro, Ralph Go and Alan Salgado (brown).