The 2021 GAMMA World Championships in Amsterdam kicked off in style today, with a lively Opening Ceremony featuring the Ritmo Entertainment Brassband and explosive preliminary-round action across three rings at the Sporthallen Zuid.
After a rousing speech from GAMMA President Alexander Engelhardt, which included a minute’s silence in memory of GAMMA European silver medallist Yegor Birkun, who recently lost his life in the war in his native Ukraine, the athletes were raring to get things started.
The first victory of the Championships went to India’s Aaquib Javid, who defeated Uganda’s Timothy Twinomugisha in the men’s 61.2kg category with an arm triangle choke.
Spirits inside the arena were high throughout, with the Spanish delegation making plenty of early noise. Spaniard Antonio Gil got his team off on the right foot by defeating Mohammad Abunagma from Palestine in the opening bout in ring 3 in the men’s 70.3kg striking MMA category.
With the rings staging bouts concurrently, the action came fast and furious. More than 30 bouts took place in each ring, but with one match (Iuri Fernandes’ victory over Deepak Patil in the under 120.2kg category) lasting less than 30 seconds and others also ending in the first round, there was no down time.
As the competition rapidly progressed through the programme, the earlier success of the Spanish team seemed to shift to the Polish, French and USA contingents, who energetically celebrated every takedown, hold, and victory from their respective teams.
The first women’s victory of the day went to Veronika Smolkova of Slovakia in the 61.2kg Striking MMA category, when she ousted Hiasat Remal from Jordan.
A memorable story from the day was the victory of Nomenjanahary Tsinjofiniavana Rakotomaria from Madagascar who overcame Azamat Tasbulatov in the 61.2kg category. Rakotomaria travelled alone and only arrived in Amsterdam earlier in the morning and went on to overturn a deficit in the opening two rounds of his bout to win with a knockout in the final round.
The day concluded with several athletes securing their places in tomorrow’s semi-finals.
For all the results of the first day of competition and for additional World Championships information, click here.
Another full day of explosive action awaits tomorrow, with the line-ups for the finals to be decided.