MEMBERS of Hereford's Combat Academy have brought back medals to the city after performing at some of the the largest Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) events in the world.

Dali Hopkins celebrated her 12th birthday in style by defending her Pan Kids American Championship at the Walter Pyramid in California.

In the final against Simone Herman, Hopkins took control of the fight to storm into a 9-0 lead before finishing off her opponent with her signature arm-bar submission with only a minute left. The youngster used the same move in her semi-final victory over American Elise Balakas, which she won 12-0.

"I enjoyed the experience because it's not every day that you get to go to California and fight in the Kids Pan Ams, it's a real treat," said Hopkins.

"The day finished in the best way possible."

Hopkins added that she eventually wants to fight in the Adults World Championship.

"I will do my best to take people on the journey with me, especially my great friend and opponent Nia Blackman," she said.

Hopkins' coach Dave Coles added: “With hard work comes great rewards, and this is certainly the case for Dali.

"Her effort cannot be faulted, in addition to training in the junior classes, she also joins in with the adults.

"It is a reflection of her character that she also gives up her time to help me and Ash Amos teaching our Tiny Taz class for 4-7 year olds."

Amos, meanwhile, competed in the blue belt category at the 2016 International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (IBJJF) European Championships in Lison.

He had a bye in the first round due to his opponent failing to make the weight before putting together three impressive wins to progress to the final to fight against Sao Paulo's Joao Paulo Martins de Aarujo.

In a very tough final, Araujo, who made all his previous opponents submit, recorded a points victory, leaving Amos with a hard-earned silver medal.

Amos was sponsored by UK Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (UKBJJA) and Hereford-based nutrition company CN Sport.

Ryan Hill, another Hereford Combat Academy member, also fought in the Juvenile 2 White Belt featherweight category.

Looking to improve on the bronze medal he won last year, Hill beat Portuguese fighter Bernando Borbinha in the quarter-finals before overcoming Finnish fighter Lasse Rahkolin in the semis. But, Quentin Codron, from France, proved too strong for Hill in the final.

As a student at Hereford Sixth Form College, Hill receives support through the college's Elite Athlete Support Programme.