Barlow medals at World Jiu Jitsu Championships
PLYMOUTH'S Tom Barlow has joined an élite list after winning a bronze medal for Great Britain at the World Jiu Jitsu Championships staged at Long Beach, California.
The city-based martial arts instructor was pipped to a silver medal in the featherweight black-belt category by last year's winner Carlos Holanda.
Barlow, who teaches and trains at the Master St James Black Belt Academy, was edged out by two points in a tense semi-final against 2011 champion Holanda.
The 31-year-old spent a month out on the West Coast in total and despite winning an international silver medal previously, said his bronze 'was right up there' in terms of career highs.
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Barlow said as the event was sanctioned by the IBJJF –the governing body for jiu jitsu globally –medalling at their World Championships is considered by many as the highest achievement in the sport.
British grappling number one Barlow told Herald Sport: "I was really pleased with my performance. The experience I gained has given me a lot to work on.
"I'm confident that next year I will do even better and would like to think I can compete for gold.
"It meant a long time away from family and friends at the academy in Plymouth. Without the academy and my sponsor Dave Parker, of Argen Security Services' help, I could not have done so well."
Barlow added: "The warm weather was great, although I've only come back with a T-shirt sun-tan as all my time was taken up training or competing.
"But it was a fantastic experience and it has given me the hunger to do better next time.
"Knowing I'm one of the few Britons in my sport to have medalled at a world championships is something I can be proud of."
Barlow's business partner and eponymous chief instructor of the Rendle Street martial arts headquarters, Anton St James was fulsome in his praise for the former Plymouth University student.
He said: "We are all incredibly proud of Tom. He trained incredibly hard for this event and it showed in the result."
Barlow won a silver medal in GB colours at the World Grappling Championships in 2009.
TO FIND out more about the jiu jitsu or the Master St James Black Belt Academy, contact Tom Barlow on 01752 262233 or visit www.martialartsplymouth.co.uk