Barkindji woman Shantelle Thompson will return home to Melbourne and regroup after losing two bouts in a major Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament in Los Angeles, USA.

The two-time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) World Champion lost to Brazilian Gabrieli Pessanha 13-0 on Saturday, September 22nd. Pessanha went on to win gold at the tournament—the LA Grand Slam.

Thompson’s second bout was in the repechage, offering her a shot at the Bronze medal. Thompson held her own against impressive Brazilian competitor Izadora Silva, but was submitted before time ran out.

The athlete is known as the Barkindji Warrior and she was circumspect in her reflection on the event.

“Hard day in the office,” Thompson said on Facebook.

“Made some improvements from the last comp. But I beat myself up and lost to the mental game and not believing in myself before I even faced my opponents.”

In 2009, aged 26, Thompson took up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to help battle postnatal depression. The sport changed her life and she went on to win two BJJ World Titles, the second in California in 2016 as a purple belt.

The now 35-year-old is on the cusp of earning her black belt. Should she achieve the feat, she will become the first ever Indigenous female BJJ black belt in Australia.

The La Grand Slam was a key stop on an international tour organised by Abu Dhabi-based UAE Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (UAEBJJF).

By Keiran Deck