The opening day of the 2022 Youth World Championships is in the books. The action began at 10 am (UTC+3) local time. The Youth C divisions got the competition underway and saw the world’s best 12 to 13-year-olds compete over the course of the day. In the end, fourteen world champions were crowned in Abu Dhabi.
Ukraine opened the competition in style, impressing yet again. Oleksii Bolbochan and Polina Kovyrnova both won gold for a second consecutive year. In the Youth C 40 kg division, Valentyna and Tetiana Khanenko topped their division, with Valentyna taking gold.
Tajikistan ended the day with seven medals. Sunatullo Navruzov looked very technical in his bout and took gold in the 34 kg division. The other two gold medalists came through Khurshedjon Shokirov at 37 kg and Khaiyomjon Chuyanov at 31 kg.
Olivia Babiarz looked sharp as Ireland secured three gold medals to put them in the mix at the top of the medal table. The 2021 Bronze medalist won all of her bouts this time around in the 52 kg division to take gold. Teammates Emily Hannick and Alex Flanagan added to the early haul of gold medals and helped triple the number of them that Ireland won last year.
England’s Ryley McGrath O’Toole was one of the standout performers of the day. The 44 kg champion overcame tough competition in Ukraine’s Yaroslav Poliakov on his route to gold. He was joined by teammate Shea Williams in topping the podium to get England off to a flying start.
The United States were prominent throughout the day. Athletes who weren’t competing today made their voices heard as they cheered on their teammates. While every athlete that competed finished in a medal position, with Isabella Campos winning their first gold medal of the competition in the 48 kg division.
Lebanon’s Adnan Hankeer and Saudi Arabia’s Abdulelah Meeraleam both launched their nations up the medal table by winning each of their divisions.
Day 2 of the competition will see the Youth B divisions take centre stage. Watch the 2022 IMMAF Youth MMA World Championships for 12 to 17-year-olds live from Abu Dhabi from the 17 – 20 August at immaf.tv.