Findhorn youngster Shay Montague has made history in the grappling combat sport of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
The 19-year-old, who fights for the SBG (Straight Blast Gym) Moray club, was on top of the world just before Christmas when he took gold in the IBJJF no gi world championships in Los Angeles.
In the process, he became the first Scottish adult athlete to become a world champion in jiu-jitsu, a sport adapted from judo and focusing on grappling, and especially ground fighting.
“It was nice to finally realise my potential because I’ve been forcing myself to visualise this for a while,” he said. “But the main part is that I enjoy the sport so much.”
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is contested in both gi (traditional costumes where fighters can grab on to each other’s clothes) and no gi (tighter costumes, such as lycra) disciplines.
Shay produced an impressive performance in the lightest weight category of rooster (under 55.5kg) to claim his no gi world title.
After being given a first round bye, he battled through three more bouts, defeating the world gi runner-up, a top-ranked Australian in the final on points.
He paid tribute to colleagues at SBG Moray, based in Elgin, and sponsors Lima Autobody Shop for supporting him on both his trips to America this year to take on the best fighters on the globe.
“Without their support it wouldn’t have been possible.”
SBG Moray is run by head coach Martin Donaldson, who said of Shay’s world title success: “To become the first adult Scottish world champion is an amazing achievement especially considering he trains at one of the smallest gyms and teams in the country.”
Shay either coaches or trains in his sport every day, and he hopes his success will inspire others to take part.
For information on SBA Moray training sessions visit the club’s website or Facebook.