By Caoilte de Barra
Norway’s Cecilie Bolander won her second IMMAF gold medal at the 2022 European Championships. Her run in the featherweight division saw her utilise her signature armbar submission to secure both victories.
First, she came up against a very tough Viktoriia Panchenko, who brought Bolander to the third round before getting caught in an armbar. In the highly anticipated final, the 2021 World Cup gold medalist faced the undefeated Summer Onley, and was able to finish the bout in thirty-one seconds. Following the competition, she credited her preparations for her seamless gold medal-winning run.
“It feels amazing. For the first time in my life, I really understand what working as an athlete really means. And my camp has been so hard that for the first time, I really felt like I was fighting easy, in a way. I mean, there were some tough fights in all of this, but I felt the camp behind me, and that felt amazing.”
Representing Norway, Bolander has been a shining star for the nation in IMMAF competition, and she believes there is more to come from the national team in future.
“I am very proud to be from Norway, and I am very proud to represent the country, and we have a lot of stars coming up. You will definitely hear about our country. We are small, but we are going to stand out. Definitely.”
Her MMA debut came at the 2021 IMMAF World Cup in Prague last year, and she has competed on eight occasions since, seven of which were in IMMAF competition. Discussing the impact IMMAF has had on her career, Bolander explained how important the competitions have been for her development as an athlete.
“I’ve only been competing for one year, and most of my fights have been in IMMAF tournaments, only one fight outside of this. So basically everything, all my experience comes from this cage, and I couldn’t be happier. I am so proud to be representing my country, and I am very happy to be in this organisation.”
There is no official word on what is next for Bolander. Another run at the World Championships could be on the cards. However, before the European Championships, her coach told her: “if you win this, you’re gonna be able to go pro.” Something that the 2021 world silver medalist is leaning towards as the next step in her career.
“I really hope that’s going to be me soon.”