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    Alabama Soldier finishes World Games competition, inspires fans

    Alabama Soldier finishes World Games competition, inspires fans

    Photo By Spc. Cody Muzio | Alabama Army National Guard Pfc. Elioenai Campos, a 1-167th Infantry Battalion...... read more read more

    BIRMINGHAM, AL, UNITED STATES

    07.17.2022

    Story by Spc. Cody Muzio 

    Joint Force Headquarters - Alabama National Guard

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Despite failing to medal, Alabama National Guard Pfc. Elioenai “Raio” Campos held his head high as he walked off the mat at Bill Battle Coliseum for the last time Saturday, July 16, 2022.
    Campos, 37, a Columbiana resident who serves as an infantryman in the 1-167th Infantry Battalion, represented the United States in jiu-jitsu during the World Games, an international athletic competition similar to (and organized in coordination with) the Olympics featuring competitors in more than 30 sports from over 100 countries.
    Campos went 0-3 in individual competitions, losing two close matches decided by points to Saar Shemesh of Israel and one against Maciej Kozak of Poland which ended when Campos refused to tap out and fell unconscious during a submission attempt.
    “That’s the infantry mentality that I’ve learned while being a Soldier in the United States Army,” Campos said.
    “That’s what we do. An infantryman will fight until the last heartbeat, the last breath, the last drop of blood. A warrior is a warrior; they never quit.”
    Alabama National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Sheryl Gordon said she was nothing short of impressed by Campos.
    “I’m extremely proud of Pfc. Campos,” she said.
    “Even without a medal, I can’t help but see this as a win. The tenacity he displayed and the honor in his defeat spoke louder than the scoreboard.
    “I think he showcased the values our National Guard holds dear and it inspires me to wear the same uniform as someone like Pfc. Campos who reflects the best of what we all can be in action and in attitude.”
    Campos said the event was bittersweet, the sting of loss mixed with the honor of representing his country and the warmth of its support.
    “Everybody that showed up and supported me and the people who watched and the whole National Guard and my family… even though the result was not positive and was not what I expected, that’s what keeps me going,” he said.
    Over the course of the multi-day competition, Campos received hundreds of messages of support from fans online and cheers of “let’s go, Raio” echoed through the arena.
    “I will always remember that when faced with insurmountable odds, in a near inescapable position, while enduring about as much pain and discomfort as a competition athlete can, Campos refused to submit to his opponent,” said Benjamin Bragdon, who attended both days of Jiu-Jitsu matches and could be heard across the stadium screaming his support.
    “As an American fan cheering for the home team,” he added, “I found myself, my son, and those around me overwhelmed with pride.”
    With the World Games behind him, Campos said that he will be glad to return to his normal routine teaching classes at his dojo and serving with his Army squadmates, but he won’t stop competing any time soon.
    “All my life, nothing was easy at all,” he said.
    “There were always difficulties and so many setbacks. This is just another one. But I always come back better and stronger and that’s exactly what’s going to happen with this one, too. It’s a negative result, but I have to see the positive in it to keep pushing and move on. This is a war and I lost a battle, but it will make me more mature and I’ll come back bigger in the next.”
    Campos is next scheduled to fight in the World Master International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Championship in Las Vegas in September.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 07.17.2022
    Date Posted: 07.19.2022 12:01
    Story ID: 425286
    Location: BIRMINGHAM, AL, US 

    Web Views: 32
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN