Waterford's Chris Bowe medals at European Jiu-Jitsu Championships

He injured his ankle earlier in the tournament and was unable to continue

BY Simon Maguire 14:36 Sunday 29 January 2017, 14:36 29 Jan 2017

Chris Bowe (far right) after winning bronze at the European BJJ Championships

Professor Chris Bowe, head trainer at Gracie Barra in Dundrum, won a bronze medal at the European Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Lisbon last weekend.

A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt under Braulio Estima, Bowe was looking for his first gold medal at European level having previously obtained three silver and two bronze medals. 

This year Bowe entered two divisions: the absolute (open weight) division and his natural super-heavyweight division.

On Saturday, he won his first match-up in the absolute division, submitting his opponent with a choke from the back position despite a slow start.  

He then progressed to a bout with the heavily favoured Muhammad Aly. Speaking to Newstalk.com after returning home he commented on how he got off to "a terrible start getting stuck in a triangle choke right from the start of the match. I escaped and went on the attack straight away gaining 2 points for a sweep but he soon swept me back to make it 2-2."

As the match progressed, the pair ended in the 50/50 position on the ground where Aly successfully won the contest with a leg lock. Bowe injured his ankle and was taken to hospital as a precaution. Aly went on to win bronze in the absolute division and gold in the super-heavyweight division. 

After a medical assessment revealed there was no break to the ankle, Bowe took the prescribed medication in the hope of being able to compete in his natural super-heavyweight division the next day. 

Having rested overnight and with his injury having made good progress, the Irishman decided to compete on Sunday.

As he was seeded going into the tournament, a win would put him into the semi-finals and after watching the style of his opponent leading up to the bout he felt he would be able to win despite his injury.

"Given the injury of the day before, I didn't think I'd step on the mats at all but I knew the way the draw worked, we would be seeded going in and I knew that I had an easier route to the final than some of the others," he said.

"My first opponent, although he was very good, he wasn't as tough of an opponent I could have got and I knew how he would fight because I watched a couple of his fights," he added.  

He won a referee's decision to progress but was unable to continue due to the considerable discomfort in his leg. 

Given he had also recently qualified for the World Cup in Abu Dhabi later this year, he felt it wasn't worth risking further damage to his ankle and settled for a bronze medal.

Chris Bowe after qualifying for the World Cup. Image: Gracie Barra

Looking ahead he said: "I've never medalled in the World Cup. I've medalled in the World's [Championships] before - I've a silver and bronze but never in the World Cup. This is my sixth time going out.

"I'll start with the absolute, the open weight [division] and then two days later do my weight division. You have to qualify for the World Cup so the chances are it'll be very high level from the start," he added.

Bowe is due to compete in a four man invitational tournament before the World Cup but his participation will depend on how quickly he recovers from his injury.    

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