Antoine Jaoude: A Brazilian Lebanese In Wrestling


(MENAFN- Brazil-Arab News Agency (ANBA)) São Paulo – Athlete Antoine Abou Jaoude is known for being a 23-time Brazilian wrestling champion and a major reference of the sport in Brazil, but he also holds a degree in International Relations, went to law school, was a football goalie and a volleyball player, worked as a TV sportscasters during the Olympics, owned a Lebanese restaurant in Rio de Janeiro, and speaks Portuguese, English, French, Spanish and Arabic.



Jaoude (green) during a fight in California in 2007

The oldest son of a Lebanese father and a Brazilian mother, Jaoude was born in Rio in January 1977 but was raised in Lebanon, where his father lived during the civil war.“When I was six months old, we went to Beirut to introduce me to my grandfather, and because of the war, the trip lasted 14 years.” He said that the family's adaptation to the Arab country wasn't hard.“My mother spoke French, so she had no trouble communicating. She became friends with my father's female cousins and fell in love with the country and its culture,” he recalls fondly.

It became part of Jaoude's daily life to grow amid the instability.“We played football, went to school, and when there were bombings, we went to the bunkers. Sometimes there were no classes for a period, then they resumed,” he says. He describes his experience through those challenging times as formative and life-changing and emphasizes the resilience and solidarity of the Lebanese people in the face of adversity.

Later on, he would spend long periods at a time training hard to get a spot in the Olympics. He represented Brazil in three of them: Atenas, Beijing, and Rio.“When I didn't get a spot, I commented the fights on TV.”

The fight that made him a champion is one of the world's earliest sports and maybe the oldest combat sport. According to the Brazilian Olympics Committee, it was already present in the Ancient Games in the 8th century BC, and there are drawings dating to 3,000 BC portraying the martial art.



Athlete: Tribute flag at the top

Who first introduced him to the sport was his grandfather, who used to call him up to watch the broadcasts on TV.“Lebanon had three Olympic medalists in the sport,” he explained. A first-born son, he later influenced his brothers and took Ralph Jaoude, Adrian Jaoude, Daniel Jaoude, and Nicolas Jaoude to the ring.

Antoine Jaoude is now father to three children – Patrick, 17, Victória, 15, and little Theo, from his second marriage.“I'm loving to experience fatherhood at this age. When my older kids were born, I used to train a lot, and sometimes spent months in other countries,” he says. Theo, he says, who is only five months old,“looks like he is one year old.”

Jaoude has recently received a tribute as an Olympic athlete, having his face printed on a flag at the Jeunesse Arena, serving as inspiration for those who use the venue.

Now at 47, he is changing careers – he owns a company with two other partners that seeks to secure an exchange between Brazil and the Arab countries, bringing and taking technology, knowledge and solutions across various sectors of the economy like the environment, goods and services.

Report by Paula Medeiros, especially for ANBA.

Translation by Guilherme Miranda

Supplied ©Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images/AFP Supplied

The post Antoine Jaoude: A Brazilian Lebanese in wrestling appeared first on Agência de Notícias Brasil-Árabe .

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