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Legally blind athlete from Kelowna wins gold at Jiu-Jitsu championships

Michelle Jorgensen of Kelowna has brought back a gold medal in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after dominating the competition.

Jorgensen, age 24, is legally blind, but that didn’t stop her from winning three matches at the first-ever Super Cup Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Kamloops on April 7.

<who>Photo Credit: Alliance Jiu-Jitsu</who> Michelle Jorgensen wins a match at the Super Cup Jiu-Jitsu Championships.

Jorgensen belongs to the Alliance Jiu-Jitsu team in Kelowna and credits much of her success to her coaches Sean McHugh, Cody Earp, Kristian Fraser and her teammates.

Jorgensen joined Alliance Jiu-Jitsu after attending a women’s only self-defense seminar last year. Afterward, she eagerly signed up and spent all her free time at the club learning both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay-Thai Kickboxing.

She was so excited about her new found passion that she quit smoking that week, and has been smoke-free for a year now.

<who>Photo Credit: Alliance Jiu-Jitsu</who>

“At the self-defense seminar Michelle was the first to arrive and it only took me about a30 seconds to realize she had a vision issue,” said McHugh.

He explains that Jorgensen was born with a rare eye disease called PFV - Persistent Fetal Vasculature, which affects only a couple of people in Canada every year.

“I’m happy to do my best to help anyone who wants to learn,” said Mr. McHugh. “Michelle can see just enough to get the techniques of the day and we’ll, of course, we help with the details.”

<who>Photo Credit: Alliance Jiu-Jitsu</who>

He adds that Jorgensen deserves to be recognized for the hard work she puts in, as she is a full-time student, volunteers for charity organizations, and still attends more practices every week than anyone else.

According to Alliance Jiu-Jitsu, Jorgensen is planning on competing next in Richmond this June.

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