From 193kg to 118kg: How this athlete lost weight to fulfil his Abu Dhabi dream

The Brazilian hopes to cap his inspiring journey with a podium finish, fully aware that he will face formidable competition in the UAE championship

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Wed 25 Oct 2023, 3:03 PM

Last updated: Wed 25 Oct 2023, 4:21 PM

In 2019, when Brazilian athlete Mario Torquet first visited Abu Dhabi, he was impressed by the thriving jiu-jitsu culture in the Capital. He fervently aspired to compete in the prestigious World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, an annual event held in the emirate. However, a significant obstacle stood in his path - Mario's weight was a formidable 180kg, while the highest weight category for the championship was set at 120kg.

"I promised myself that the following year I would compete," he said, speaking to Khaleej Times from Brazil. "Unfortunately, when the pandemic came, I had to postpone my dream."


During the peak of the pandemic, Mario gained more weight and touched 193kg. A certified para jiu-jitsu teacher, Mario works regularly with students who have reduced mobility, amputations, motor and intellectual deficiency, as well as visual impairment. “I also wanted to demonstrate to my students that nothing was impossible if you were committed to the goal,” he said. “I wanted to do my students proud as well.”

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The journey

In early 2022, he turned his focus on weight loss programme. On the day he started, he weighed 178kg. Over the course of the next couple of months, he focused solely on the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (ADWPJJC).

“It was very difficult,” he admitted. “It took almost two years, doing all the dietary reduction, weight training, and jiu-jitsu every day – just exercises, supplements, and nothing else.”

Torquet said the hardest part was staying focused. “There were times when I wanted to give up,” he said. “At one point, I did not lose any weight for three months. I was about 140kg at the time and I was really discouraged. But I just focused on my goal of being able to participate in ADWJJP.”

Currently weighing 118kg, Torquet said that he has noticed a marked improvement in his performance since the weight loss. “My trainer focused on fat loss and muscle gain,” he said. “I feel a lot of difference in the weight and now I feel very agile.”

Excited

After discovering jiu-jitsu in 2010, Torquet won a few competitions before realising he was in love with the sport. He got the opportunity to move to the state of Mato Grosso in Brazil, where he trained more than 150 children and adults with physical disabilities.

Now, he is hoping that he can cap his inspiring journey with a podium finish. "I arrive in Abu Dhabi on October 31,” he said. “I am excited for it. I know that the competition is tough because the tournament attracts some of the best talent from all over the world. But I am hoping that I can win a medal."

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