By Danny O’Donnell
Bell Bank Park in Mesa, Arizona played host to the first AZBJJL event of 2022. The new venue will be the site of all 2022 AZBJJL events and is the latest upgrade to the premier jiu-jitsu organization in the state. Bell Bank Park is a 320-acre facility that features a 3,000-seat outdoor stadium, a 2,800-seat indoor arena, multiple sports fields and courts, a zipline, and even a restaurant. The additional space, bathrooms, and concessions made the tournament experience more enjoyable and family friendly.
Tournament director Heath Flicker commented on the decision to move to the new venue. “The AZBJJL invested in moving to a new venue because we had outgrown our previous venue, Phoenix College. As always, we try to incrementally improve the tournament experience for the Arizona BJJ community, and we see the new venue as an integral part of that process.”
The Arizona jiu-jitsu community showed full support for the event and new venue, with over 800 competitors registered to compete. With 12 mats at this event instead of 6 that were used at previous tournaments, all divisions competed on one day. Heath touched on how the new venue will benefit coaches, competitors, and spectators. “We hope that the venue provides benefits for all segments of our community. We now have double the number of competition mats, which allow us to conduct the tournament in one day instead of two. We have space for a center aisle for coaches and staff. This provides fewer logistical hurdles for the coaches and staff and provides a less obstructed view of the competition area for spectators.”
In addition to being the first event at Bell Bank Park, the 2022 AZ International Open was also the first event of the 2022 season. Below are the top ranked single academies and teams for both the kids and adult divisions.
Feedback received from everyone who attended the event was very positive and left the community itching for the next tournament. “Running our first tournament at a new venue in a single day with double the competition mats certainly brought some operational challenges that may be unseen to the casual observer. The feedback from the community was overwhelmingly positive. However, we noted many areas that we can improve and are already making plans to do so for our next event in April.”
These next events will be the Kid’s Cup and Copa Bella tournaments on April 16,2022. For more information on these events please visit azbjjl.com. For full team and individual results of the 2022 Arizona International, please visit https://azbjjf.smoothcomp.com/en/event/6241/results.