GOLDEN GIRL: Maiysha Craig after the medal presentation in Japan.
GOLDEN GIRL: Maiysha Craig after the medal presentation in Japan. Contributed

Local nurse is the best in the world

A SPUR of the moment decision four years back has seen Coffs Harbour nurse Maiysha Craig surprise even herself at becoming a world champion.

Visiting Japan for her first international meeting, Maiysha collected a gold medal in the over-70kg division at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam of Jiu-Jitsu in Tokyo.

She won by submission against Sara Salem Ibrahim Alhammadi.

Under the direction of coach Chris Hellback it puts the 25-year-old martial artist on top of the Australian and Oceania rankings.

Most importantly, she is World champion in her division and shares the top Global Jiu-Jitsu female ranking with Nanami Ichikawa of Japan and Charlyne Marze of Switzerland.

"I joined the class at C4 Gym without any plans other than having fun with other girls in the class," Maiysha said.

"Because the sport is mainly male-dominated it wasn't something I would usually get into but right from the start I loved it, especially becoming a mentor to other women as I became more experienced.

"The rest is a bit of a dream including the trip to Japan where I only had the one chance to impress the judges.

"Last year I placed second at the Pan Pacific championships in Melbourne and the idea of going to another level started there.

"Qualification came from having a blue belt in the division and entry was made privately."

Riding in a taxi on the way to the stadium in Tokyo, Maiysha was so nervous she couldn't even research her opponent and check her background in the sport.

"I got a text from friends in Australia telling me how she'd beaten 10 opponents and after learning that it took a while to settle down.

"Winning was an unbelievable feeling.

"To defend the title I would have to go to Los Angeles but that isn't likely as I have my midwifery exams coming and have to study for those.

"So where I can go from here will have to stay on the backburner for a little while."



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