From July 11-15, 2018, the 7th World Junior Wushu Championships in Brasilia, Brazil marked the first time the IWUF's signature event has been held in South America. This historic milestone is undoubtedly a signal that any NF that works this hard, with such a degree of energy and commitment, can host a highly successful event on any continent. Not only has this competition in South America bolstered wushu in the entire Southern hemisphere, and the Americas overall, but it also offered a uniquely soulful competition experience to young athletes from around the globe who made this journey at perhaps the most formative time of their sport careers. The warmth, professionalism, and passion for wushu demonstrated by our Brazilian hosts made this IWUF championships truly special, and one of the most impressive in recent memory.
By the end of the WJWC nearly 700 participants from 42 countries and regions took home medals and memories, set records for their teams and nations, and beamed out many hundreds of social media posts chronicling victory, defeat, friendship and fun. When the dust settled after the last sanda match on Sunday, Iran stood at the top of the medals table with a standout total of 26, and 11 of them gold. Hong Kong’s strong team followed closely, with 23 medals, 10 gold. And bringing a high energy of the Americas was USA, with a record-setting 16 medals, 8 of them gold. Malaysian athletes’ suitcases were far heavier on their trip back from Brazil, with 21 total medals (7 gold), and next came China with 9 total (7 gold), Macau with 13 total (4 gold), Japan with 8 total (4 gold), Singapore with 14 total (3 gold), Korea with 8 total (3 gold), and rounding out the top 10 was Vietnam with 9 total (3 gold.) Notable also were Indonesia’s 19 total medals, and Egypt’s remarkably strong team that added up 15 to their count.
Beyond the hardware, other stories were told – like New Zealand bringing their first team ever to the WJWC, and South American teams of Paraguay, Uruguay and Peru proudly debuting their athletes on the medal map with strong showings. Gold may have eluded Brazil this time, but the 3 silver and bronze medals it accrued elicited euphoric applause from a boisterous audience of cheering fans. The spirit of these games was high as athletes supported each other, gave countless hugs and dried friends’ tears. One of the beautiful things about a junior championships is the openness of these young teenage athletes to having new experiences; they like to make new friends at the drop of a hat, and truly find wonder discovering new cultures. Whether it was helping tie a sash in the warm up area, kicking back together to watch World Cup football between events, or snapping photos at some of Brasilia’s stunning architectural landmarks, the camaraderie at this 7th WJWC was truly inspiring. Undoubtedly some remarkable lifetime friendships may have been forged here in Brazil.
Opening Ceremony – Brazil Style!
To open the games in Brasilia on July 11, excited athletes, officials and VIP guests gathered for a joyous celebration of wushu and Brazilian culture at the Royal Tulip Hotel to inaugurate the games. Mr. Marcus Alves, President of the Brazilian Wushu Confederation, welcomed the international delegations and special guests to the event. Mr. Anthony Goh, Executive Vice President of IWUF, also addressed the athletes, judges and distinguished guests, and expressed the IWUF's thanks to the Brazilian organizers for their excellent hospitality.
In one of the evening's highlights the Sport Minister of Brazil, Mr. Leandro Cruz, gave an inspirational speech encouraging the young athletes. Mr. Daniel Dionisio Madeira, President of Brasilia Wushu Federation welcomed guests and spoke of the historic nature of having the 7th WJWC take place in Brazil and how these games will greatly promote wushu in South America and in the surrounding regions. After a delicious banquet featuring local cuisine, the guests were treated to an exciting program featuring dynamic capoeira, Brazilian dance and some rocking music performances. The evening ended joyously with athletes dancing across the room, and Sport Minister Cruz joined in much to the delight of all.
Stories from the Competition in Brasilia
On the morning of July 12 the 7th WJWC began, and we saw fierce competition, nerves and confidence, gracious winners and losers, and a new generation of wushu family -- along with a few old faces who will soon be moving on to the adult competitions.
Things started off with one of the toughest categories, Boy's Changquan Group A. Alex Ni from the USA fought his way to the top of the podium with an impressive 9.47, followed by Korea's Jeongyeol Park with 9.44, and Malaysia's CheongWan Tan at 9.41 – all strong, stellar scores for a junior event. Alex’s mom, Hong Ni, was watching the competition nervously and she was completely thrilled when his name appeared in the final result at the top of the scoreboard. After the medal ceremony she told us, “I feel so surprised and happy, this gold medal beyond my imagination. Alex has been training for ten years, and he works very hard, and he’s very passionate about wushu. He went to train and live in Virginia near his coaches for one month before the championships. He trained every day. I visited on weekends.”
USA team coach Eugene Moy added, “Alex came to our school in 2014, from a more traditional background, and he showed himself to be a really hard worker. He has more endurance than anyone I’ve ever met. He lives in New Jersey, and he’ll come down to train in Virginia for a week or two at a time and do long, intense classes every day.”
This kind of dedication in the IWUF’s junior division seemed more apparent in this Brasilia championships than perhaps any previous WJWC. Many of the other champions here have put in countless hours of practice and dedication, despite their tender years and other school commitments. The “A” category events from taijiquan to nanquan were peppered with top scores ranging into the 9.4s, and even the “C” levels of youngest athletes showed a sharp improvement from past events.
Dr. Mahdi Alinejad, President of the Iran Wushu Federation and Executive Board Member of the IWUF, watched the entire three days of taolu and sanda events intently. He commented, “ I think the competition level is better than two years ago, the level of the athletes is higher and higher. Group A especially, is close to the adult level. I have seen a lot of good performances in this competition.”
Eugene Moy, USA Taolu Coach, noted that this has been the most successful WJWC event ever for the USA, which ended up winning 8 gold, 4 silver and 4 bronze medals. He said, “USA delegations have historically been competitive at the junior level, but the results achieved in Brasilia far surpassed our previous best for both golds and total medals. For additional context, US junior athletes won as many golds (8) at the 7th WJWC as they had at the past three World Junior Wushu Championships combined - 4th WJWC (4 golds), 5th WJWC (3 golds) & 6th WJWC (1 gold). These athletes should be commended for taking full advantage of the opportunity presented to them. Also,” he adds, “it was clear how much these championships meant to our Brazilian hosts. Their dedication and tireless work left a lasting impression on us. In return I hope we, the participants of the 7th World Junior Wushu Championships, have done our part to show the Brazilian public a good and lasting impression of wushu.”
Iran wushu’s golden sweep in Brasilia had Dr. Alinejad smiling as he and his team celebrated an unprecedented WJWC victory with the top total of 26 medals, including 2 gold for taolu and 9 for sanda. The story of Iran’s junior wushu team is inspirational, and rather a notable model. “Most of our Iranian junior team is new at this Brasilia event,” explained Dr. Alinejad. “We are making a big investment in this generation to have the best result in the future. We’ve brought a full team of 23. I’m so happy this group has achieved so much here, although it was difficult for us to come from Iran to Brazil. But we work hard to give them a chance to have some experience for the future.”
Dr. Alinejad continued, “The taolu experience is a good one here for our team, and we are investing for the future in taolu athletes in Iran. There, sanda is still 4-5 times more popular, but taolu appeal is really growing. One of our star champions, Farshad Arabi, is the coach of six boys on the team here in Brasilia, and he’s done an excellent job. This creates a continuum for taolu in Iran, as some of our best athletes can transition from athletes to coach. This is special to see at this WJWC here in Brazil.”
To add to the excitement for the team, the Iranian ambassador to Brazil came to the opening ceremony of the 7th WJWC and two days later invited the whole team to the Iran embassy for dinner. This kind of official and cultural recognition is also an important boost to promoting the sport of wushu.
Dr. Alinejad also noted, “We are so glad to come here and support Brasilia, and the hosts here have been working hard for two years since they were awarded the WJWC. I fully supported Brazil in this event, and I was always sure that Marcus Alves can do a good job. This is the first time a major IWUF championships comes to the South American continent, and this was my reason to support Brasilia. We need to give a chance to a new area to host the competition. Now I’m so proud of this choice. Everything here is excellent, even more than expected. I can really say that this is one of the best competitions held in the history of wushu. The accommodations, food, transportation, venue – all are excellent. The best thing is the volunteers, who are warm and very helpful, and very friendly. I think this is one of the milestones in the IWUF’s organization of events.”
“It’s also positive,” he concluded, “that we are seeing more South American athletes having a chance to come here – more from Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. I hope we can continue this policy in future, and have another championships in the Americas. I think it is also a big encouragement for Africa to have the next world junior wushu championships.”
The friendly rivalry between Iran and Egypt on the sanda leitai ended in both countries celebrating with smiles at the closing ceremony. President of the Egyptian Wushu Federation, and IWUF Executive Board Vice President, Sherif Mostafa spent many hours with his team which really broke out to shine at this Brasilia championships, showing skill and spirit on the leitai, but also a great deal of young promise on the taolu carpet. The Egyptian team’s 15 medals attest to this.
Mr. Mostafa remarked, “This event has been very great in Brasilia, and the arena is very nice for competition. The people are all kind and welcome us very warmly. The athletes in Egypt have been training several years for this -- they all come to win. The government support there is very important to us, and so this event means a lot. The athletes who win medals get a good reward of prize money when they return home, which encourages them a lot. I hope Africa will host the WJWC in 2020, and we will do our best to make the event as successful as this one.”
One may remember that some of the success of both Iran and Egypt comes from strong government support from their sport ministries. But smaller countries, with relatively little wushu culture and no govermnet support, also found deep meaning in Brasilia. New Zealand is one such example, and their enthusiasm and spirit was not dampened in the least by not winning any medals. Instead, the athletes, coach and parents found a golden wealth of experience in coming to their first WJWC event ever.
One New Zealand parent helped usher her 12-year-old daughter’s team through this new experience. She told us, “This was a really great experience for New Zealand wushu, and it was our first time to the World Junior Wushu Championships. We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, and in New Zealand the athletes have a lot of pressure to study for school, so they only practice 1-2 times per week. My daughter was surprised to suddenly feel under a lot of pressure when she got to the competition. I always thought she was really confident, but she got here and felt the pressure. This was a good learning experience for the athletes, to know what competition really feels like. Our coach also gained insight, for example now we understand the judging better, and the scoring system, how that works. The volunteers and organizers are so good, they help us make things smooth and easy every day.”
New Zealand team coach Wei Zhao added, “When I came to New Zealand and was contacted to be the wushu coach, our goal was to make a national team. We did this from scratch with a lot of community support. The community helped us a lot, and helped us find a training hall. We did a fundraising performance to help sponsor our trip to Brazil. We’ve learned a lot here, and can take this knowledge back to New Zealand and look forward to another junior event in two years where we can really prepare and know what to expect.”
In yet another contrast, former wushu champion and now Malaysia Wushu team coach Lim Yew Fai is used to his team winning plenty of medals. Malaysia hosted the first WJWC at the event’s launch in 2006 in Kuala Lumpur; Malaysian wushu athletes are regularly top champions across Asia and the world. But for coach Lim, the medals are not the end game of coming to Brasilia, and he says, “This event is good for the Asian athletes in a lot of ways – kids can come to Brazil and have a great experience. The competition offers them some insight and understanding into how wushu is trained in Brazil. This young generation, they only know Asian athletes, and the wushu is different in Brazil and other countries. I want them to learn from other countries, and have global experiences.”
“Wushu, he adds, “has gone out to the whole world now; people have different skin, but they train together with the same wushu feeling, like a family – this is what I like. It’s good to go overseas. We can go and learn something different. I don’t have a target for the team, just to come and enjoy the experience. I want them to enjoy every moment – the training moments, the competition moments, the travel. We had a team meeting and they are very happy today with seven gold medals. It’s the first time to get mostly gold in the junior championships -- we got 6 in Malaysia’s first games.”
Lim shared a story with us about the youngest athlete on the team. “Our last athlete – the youngest Alvin Toh – didn’t have any medals until the last event on the third day. And then he got the gold medal – he cried. He’s 10 years old. He cried the first event too when he didn’t do well, and felt sad. Then in the last event he followed the routine as I told him, and he got the gold medal.”
Lim adds, “I’m enjoying the event as a coach too. When they are happy, I am happy too. I’ve been coaching the team for seven years. We have 10 athletes here representing Malaysia. I focus on the athletes, I want them to enjoy the games. If you give them pressure they’re not happy in wushu. And what’s very important is giving them the chance to know more of the world through friendship. At every event the teams get together, share social media, they are bonding, and making friends.”
High Energy Sanda Finals Complete the Last Day of 7th WJWC Brasilia
The last day of the Championships in Brasilia, Brazil, came to a close on July 15 with non-stop sanda action that rocked the Nilson Nelson arena to the rafters!
The top sanda ranking went to Iran, who took home 9 gold medals and 1 bronze, followed by China with 3 golds and 2 bronze, and Egypt ranking third with 1 gold, 7 silver, and 3 bronze for a total of 11 medals.
Vietnam, Korea, Turkey, Armenia, India, Indonesia and Brazil rounded out the top 10 with a promising group of fine young competitors. The new Children's category for athletes 13-15 years old proved a big success, and overall the level of junior sanda has risen well above previous events.
Junior Girl’s Sanda Finals
In the Junior Girl's 48kg final Aida HEIDARI of Iran was dominant from the start, but her opponent SAVITA from India fought back with some impressive moves. Savita took down her opponent in round two looking to even things up, but the Iranian moved ahead in points to win both rounds and the gold.
The Junior Girl's 52kg match saw a confident Nga NGO THI PHUONG from Vietnam take on Indonesia’s Tharisa DEA FLORENTINA in a well-matched bout. The Vietnamese fighter won round 1 and came to dominate round 2 also, pulling ahead on points with swift kicks and scoring a decisive win as top champion.
In Junior Girl's 56kg category China’s Ya CAO met her match with Egyptian fighter Rawan HOOSSENY MOHAMED in one of the most exciting fights of the day. Egypt knocked down Cao out of the gate, but was then taken down by her opponent who squeaked by on points to win round 1. In round 2 Egypt came on strong with decisive takedowns and punches to the face, eliciting cheers from the crowd. It was so close round 2 was a draw and the audience went crazy. In round 3 Hoosseny Mohamed came out fighting, and took Cao down to roars of the crowd. She delivered some impressive kicking and punching combinations and appeared to the audience to win the round but the judges’ scores came back – tied. Going to a 4th round both fighters were tired, but China managed to win it, and the match, by points.
The next Junior Girl's 60kg final saw Kimiya SHOOSHTARI of Iran pitted against Noura SOLIMAN AHMED of Egypt. The nimble, long-legged Iranian unleashed a barrage of kicks against her opponent to surge ahead in the first round, and also scored some nice takedowns in round 2. The Egyptian came back with a successful flurry of punches near the end but it was too little too late, and Iran took the gold medal to finish out the women’s sanda finals.
Children’s Boy’s Sanda Finals
Next came the newest sanda category added to IWUF events, the Children’s Boy’s event, comprised of male athletes aged 13-15 years old. As he watched the action on the leitai closely, Dr. Alinejad (Executive Board member)remarked, “The new sanda competition for children is excellent. I hope next time they will include girls too. Before, no one under 15 was allowed to fight sanda. But in karate and judo they can do combat at 9-10 years old. So a lot of people overlook wushu to go to those sports to compete in fighting. Now with the Children’s category in sight, students can start at 9 or 10 to join our clubs in sanda. This also helps develop wushu for the younger generation. It was a very good decision made by the IWUF Technical Committee and Executive Board to add the new children’s sanda category. The main concerns were about safety, so the children’s regulations don’t allow kicks to the head, consecutive punches to the head, and the rounds are 1:30 minutes each. So far we’ve had no injuries, so it’s good.”
The first fight here was Children Boy's 42kg, matching up Mohanad EMAD MOHAMED BEKHIT from Egypt and India’s Babulu MUNDA. This was a great fight to watch, as both boys were lighting fast, full of energy and verve, and showed to be most promising strong young fighters. India’s fighter darted out like a mongoose with an early takedown, and the Egyptian quickly countered with one of his own. India was scrappy, but Egypt ended round 1 with a dramatic takedown to win it. The second round saw more action and precise techniques from both fighters, but the Egyptian squeaked by on points to win the round, match and the gold medal. Overwhelmed with emotion, he danced around the leitai with his nation’s flag and then jumped into his happy coach’s arms.
The next Children Boy's 45kg match pitted Semih Sah CINDIR from Turkey against Tsz Hei HEUNG of Hong Kong. It was another well-matched fight, with the Turkish fighter just pulling ahead with more punches and takedowns to take round 1. Cindir blazed pout again at the start of round 2 with immediate takedowns, quickly becoming dominant and in control, especially demonstrating some great wrestling skills, and won the second round and the match.
The Children Boy's 48kg fight witnessed China’s Jiawei LIANG vs. Youssef LAMLOUM ABDELMAKSOUD of Egypt. Evenly matched, they traded takedowns throughout the first round, which China won by a slight margin. Round 2 was quite exciting, and both fighters were tied neck in neck for points, but China squeaked by a point or two to take the match.
In the Children Boy's 52kg matchup Iran’s Mohammadmehdi REZAEI SEPASTANAKI took on Indonesia’s Bintang REINDRA NADA GUITARA. The Iranian fighter quickly proved to be dominant, capturing many points with masterful throws to take round 1. Round 2 was a bit closer as Indonesia fired off some fast kicks and punches, but the Iranian’s takedowns again came to dominate, resulting in another Iranian gold medal.
The last Children Boy's match, at 56kg, saw one of the most thrilling matches of the competition, between Ebrahim ASLANI YENKEJEH of Iran and Mohammad Saleem KUMAR of India. Kumar first threw his opponent off the leitai, and followed up with impressive skills and strength, resisting the trademark takedowns of Iran. India took round 1, and came roaring back again in the second round with a great takedown but the Iranian was ready for him, and countered with a flurry of punches. The points were dead even until the last 30 seconds when Iran racked up fast points to just take round 2. Round three was another nail biter with many points scored by two exhausted fighters, but again Iran pulled ahead to just win the round and the match.
Junior Boy’s Sanda Finals
Then it was on to the next category, which opened with Junior Boy's 48kg and a matchup between Arsen BAGHRYAN of Armenia and Siefeldin MOHSEN ELSAYED from Egypt. This match really demonstrated how much the sanda in the WJWC has improved in terms of skill, preparation and technique. Both fighters came out strong, and like dancing cats they traded blows. Baghryan’s gorgeous and powerful throws won him both rounds and the gold medal, to the absolute thrill of the Armenian team.
In the Junior Boy's 52kg match Jaemin SON from Korea took on Mohamed SALAHELDIN ABDULLAH of Egypt. This was another exciting fight that went to 3 rounds with two very well matched athletes. The Egyptian came out of the gate scoring two fast takedowns in round 1, which the Krean countered with by racking up points with punches and kicks. Egypt took down his opponent at the bell to win round 1. In the second round the Korean poured it on to take an early lead, with Egypt then countering with throws. Korea countered with more kicks and punches to squeak by winning round 2. Round 3 had the crowd roaring, as the two exhausted fighters traded blows for most of the round. Just by a hair Korea surged ahead on points and won the round and the gold medal.
The next match, Junior Boy's 56kg, saw Shoja PANAHIGELEHKOLAEI of Iran and Abdelrahman HASSAN SELIM of Egypt give the cheering audience another epic WJWC battle. Fast and furious, both fighters were quick and powerful making the first round high energy as Iran edged ahead to win. Egypt brought out an arsenal of kicks in round 2, and despite some hard takedowns by Iran, used his well-placed, powerful punches and kicks to win it. Round 3 had the audience on the edge of its seats, as the fighters exchanged hard kicks and takedowns and were virtually tied until the very end – when the Iranian surged ahead in the last 10 seconds to pour on his techniques to steal the show and win the match.
The Junior Boy's 60kg match saw Iran’s Mohammad FARHADINOWROOZANI overpower Chuong TRUONG VAN of Vietnam for most of the match, racking up a huge point gap with a succession of throws in round 1. Vietnam came back in the second round but the Iranian proved to be too powerful, and took round 2 and the match.
Then it was time for the arena to go crazy, as Brazil and Iran went head on in the Junior Boy's 65kg category. Hamid KIANIAN HAJISHOREH of Iran squared off with Guilherme MORENO GAMA of Brazil, and cheering filled the rafters as the fight began. Iran scored the first takedown, but Brazil was feisty and landed some well placed punches. The ultra strong Iranian threw his opponent off the platform, and won round 1. But the second round brought even more cheers as the Brazilian crown cheered on their hero. The Iranian team is no slouch in the cheering department either, and the excitement was palpable. As the fighters traded blows Iran moved in like a sanda cyborg, and overpowered his opponent to win the match. Good sportsmanship all around cheered the athletes, and they hugged and saluted coaches of each side on the way out.
The Junior Boy's 70kg bout pitted Mohammad HAJIZADEH NAGHDI OLIA of Iran against Jaekook LEE of Korea. The Iranian sanda machine proved again to be unstoppable as Olia took round 1 and round 2 with little difficulty.
The Junior Boy's 75kg brought out China’s sanda power with Mingjie GAO as he fought Mohamed MOHAMOD MAHMOUD EBRAHIM of Egypt. China’s skill and experience with swift and powerful takedowns led to his first round victory, but in round 2 the Egyptian came back to hold his own and started to climb back up in points; nevertheless, the clock ran out for him, and China won round 2 and the match for the gold.
The last fight, the Junior Boy's 80kg, saw Iran’s Hassan LOTFI of Iran fight
Salahaldeen YAHYA of Jordan. The Iranian proved strongly dominant, winning the match by WPD.
In all, the sanda at the WJWC has really come into its own. Athletes are now better trained, stronger, and posses a much more diverse skill set. The new Children’s Boys category proved a fine success, and many look forward to seeing the Children’s Girls category added to the next event. This new crop of young, hungry talent augurs well for the future of IWUF’s sanda competitions, and we eagerly await the next chapter of these fine and valiant young fighters.
The Social Media Buzz
The IWUF joint effort with Brazilian organizers went above and beyond to create a dynamic media and social media team that brought the competition to life, and beamed the Brasilia games instantly around the world through live streaming on Youtube and QQ Live, and beautifully produced videos on the event website, Facebook, Instagram, and We Chat channels. Former Brazilian wushu star Paula Amidani, who was part of the Brasilia LOC as well, became a presenter and interviewer, showcasing many young athletes and their stories, as well as action on the stage and moments behind the scenes.
Junior Athletes -- Looking Ahead
What’s next for the maturing wushu athletes looking beyond the WJWC? Coaches may need to find a strategy for the oldest athletes aging out of the WJWC to go to the World Wushu Championships. In transitioning from juniors to adults, one of the most important things is to look at the rule set. Juniors have no nandu requirements so if juniors do add this in a WJWC the added difficulty is impressive. Rotation is not an issue in juniors, so that’s an adjustment that also may be taken into account looking ahead to Shanghai. As well, athletes and coaches also have to take into account the new rules and regulations for the IWUF, and details such as the correct positions of fist and hand positions.
The 16 and 17-year-old athletes here, many garnering gold medals, won’t be the oldest any more as they continue their sport careers -- they will be the youngest at the next World Wushu Championships. A junior’s form might not be up to the level of adult competition, and coaches may need to go back and examine the choreography, readjust it for more rigorous competition, and tweak it. After puberty young athletes likely have different grown bodies to adjust to, so they must also necessarily adjust to technique in a different way.
The Triumph of Brazil
Executive Vice President Anthony Goh reflected on the event at its close, remarking, “This is one of the best championships I have experienced. One of the unique and most impressive things about this event was the way the members of the Brazil Wushu Confederation acted in concert, as a fine-tuned team, to solve each problem that came up and offer us a wonderful experience all around here in Brasilia. They used their heart to deliver a wonderfully successful 7th World Junior Wushu Championships in every aspect. For two years the team demonstrated a unified spirit in building these games. And once the moment was here, their overall positive attitude towards solving the logistical problems of various teams was fast, efficient and always with a smile. They truly made the hospitality and warmth of the Brazilian people shine through.
I also want to recognize the leadership of Marcus Alves, whose vision, steadfastness and nurturing over two years organizing this event was essential to its success. He understands the sport, and he understands what it takes to run a good championship; he truly put his heart into it. He also was aided by many exemplary organizers around him like Rodrigo Carazzato and Paula Amidani, longtime members of the Brazilian and international wushu community, who devoted themselves to making the event so successful. I’m so proud of what this Brazilian team, and everything they’ve achieved here. “
Reflections on Hosting the 7th WJWC
Hosting the first World Junior Wushu Championships is no easy task, even for Asian countries with strong support and long experience. Brazil’s triumph in bringing off its first smooth competition – and one also full of joy and soul -- is largely due to the unrelenting efforts of the organizers – the Brazil Wushu Confederation, the Brasilia Wushu Federation, and the hardworking Brasilia LOC. Marcus Alves, President of the Brazil Wushu Confederation, looked very happy on the last day of the championships, and sat down to have a word about the event, which was not without its considerable challenges due to much political upheaval in Brazil over the past two years.
“This is a really, really big event,” he said. “I have experienced hosting some big events, like the Pan America Wushu Championships, but this event is much bigger than I could imagine. I have learned a lot in the whole process. After this, we will be ready to host anything!”
Alves continued, “We had special challenges in obtaining resources, because recently in Brazil the political issues have been complicated with scandals and corruption. When we began this project we had confirmed many public and private resources, but after many scandals a number of companies stepped back. For example, the Federal Bank that supported sports confederations before cut off all sports sponsorships after the scandals except soccer. This problem was our biggest challenge, especially dealing with bureaucracy. We lost time with this, but everything worked out in time for the event. We had lots of support from many people on the Brazilian para-Olympic committee who helped us in various areas. We have 200 great volunteers from Brasilia University. And the IWUF was also deeply supportive.”
“We have seven countries here from South America, and for the first time many of them will get medals in the WJWC, like Uruguay, Paraguay and Peru. Latin America really has strong representation here. Brazil has 16 athletes on our team.”
“I’m very happy that so many people have supported Brazil in this event, and it’s the first time ever we have organized an official IWUF competition here. It’s important for us. The Sport Minister came and saw wushu competition for the first time – he was excited! He left the VIP area and went to hang out with the crowd. He gave out medals also. It was excellent to have the opportunity to bring wushu into sharper focus for the Sport Ministry and help them see how our events are organized.”
My term as President of the Brazilian Wushu Confederation is over in 2019. I’m finishing one chapter in my wushu career, and closing this with a golden key. Mission accomplished.”
Full results of the 7th World Junior Wushu Championships can be found on the IWUF website at: iwuf.org