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July 7, 2022

Byron Bay BJJ athletes crowned at World Championships

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Byron Bay’s newest World Champions, dripping in gold.

Ross Kendall

Chilli Harel and Thalison Soares have fought their way to three gold medals at the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) World Championship held in Long Beach California earlier this month.

‘This is the biggest, most prestigious event in the world and our two Byron Bay athletes just made history,’ Chilli’s father, Raz Harel, said.

Chilli is 16 years old and won gold in the Juvenile division in both the heavyweight and open classes. His coach and head professor at the Academy Jiu Jitsu, Thalison Soares, won the adult black belt in the rooster weight (peso-galo) class.

They are the first and only Australians to ever win either a BJJ black belt adult world title or a male double gold world title.

Thalison is now the only Jiu Jitsu athlete in history to win Worlds in every belt division. Chilli, winning back-to-back double gold at the Pan Americans in April and now the World Championship, has dominated the two major world events, and is the only Australian to ever do so.

‘They didn’t just put Australia on the map, they put us at the top – and put the world on notice! We’re building world champions in Byron Bay,’ Raz said.

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