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Napolis bags World Crown

MANILA, Philippines — Kaila Napolis proved the country’s jiu-jitsu fighters are world class as she delivered Team Philippines’ first gold medal in the World Combat Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia yesterday.

Just a few weeks after pocketing a bronze in the Hangzhou Asian Games, Napolis, 25, struck anew, this time going all the way to the top in the women’s 52-kilogram division Ne-Waza event.

Napolis battered Annael Pannetier of France, 2-0, in a triumph that capped her spectacular run of wins over Colombian Adriana Cruz in the quarterfinals, 6-0, and Mongolian Mongoljin Gaanbatar in the semis via submission, 50-0.

And it was another golden moment for Napolis, who also reigned supreme in last May’s Phnom Penh Southeast Asian Games.

The feat added to the two silvers earned by wushu’s Agatha Wong and Clemente Tabugara Jr. and four bronzes by wushu’s Jones Llabres Inso and Thornton Sayan, and wrestlers Fierre Afan and Maria Aisa Ratcliff.

Napolis’ reign highlighted what has been obvious the past few years – the country’s jiu-jitsu fighters are world-class. The Philippines has produced jiu-jitsu world champions that include Meggie Ochoa.

Hangzhou Asiad gold winner Annie Ramirez lauded Napolis on social media for her effort, saying it’s “another record-breaking feat for Philippines in jiu-jitsu.”