Bronze medal won despite broken arm

Dunedin jujitsu exponent Conor Middleton and Submission Lab president Benoit Auvray with the...
Dunedin jujitsu exponent Conor Middleton and Submission Lab president Benoit Auvray with the medal he won in a competition in Melbourne last month. Photo: John Cosgrove
A broken arm was not enough to stop Conor Middleton from winning three fights and bringing home a bronze medal from an international jujitsu competition in Melbourne.

``I didn't know it was broken then and because I didn't want to disappoint my club or my family I kept on fighting even though my arm was getting sore,'' he said.

It was not until Middleton returned to Dunedin the next day that he learned he had fractured the top of his ulnar bone and would be out of action for six weeks.

Middleton was one of 300 competitors, from three countries, at the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Pan Pacific championship at the end of last month.

The 22-year-old apprentice builder lost his first fight on the opening day of competition against a member of the Australian elite team and was disappointed.

But determined to come back with a medal, Middleton, who started the sport only 18 months ago, entered in another category two days later.

``The first fight was going good. I had been working on my wrestling and was feeling confident as I had taken him down several times.

``But when I took him down once more he had my arm in a secure arm lock and hyper-extended it.

``We both heard a cracking sound and that stopped the fight, but I shook it off for the ref and we carried on.''

Middleton managed to get up on the back of his opponent and apply a high-points-value choke-hold.

While applying the hold he heard his arm making a popping sound. He let go of the choke and decided to finish out the round on his opponent's back and won on points.

He soon noticed his arm swelling up.

``It didn't look normal but I was asked if I was ready to compete again and I said `yes', because I knew I had one more match to win to earn a medal and I really didn't want to go home empty-handed.''

The limited movement in his right arm led to a change of tactics; he went into a jijitsu guard pull position.

Sweeping his opponent on to the mat multiple times earned enough points to win the match and gain entry into the silver medal match against a top Melbourne fighter.

``He was incredibly talented and very good. I found it quite hard as my arm was really sore. I couldn't fight him off or stop him getting too close. I suppose it was nice knowing I had lost to the best guy.''

Despite missing his flight home and arriving late into Dunedin he went to the after-hours clinic where he learned he had fractured the upper part of his ulna bone in his arm.

Middleton plans to regain his fitness and keep training at Submission Lab as he looks to future competitions including the world champs in 2018.

Submission Lab president Benoit Auvray said Middleton was one of those rare students who sticks with it.

``I think he had to do this. He fought in the first round and lost to the silver medallist it was very disappointing for him so I knew he was extremely motivated.''

 - John Cosgrove

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