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Vernon martial artist concourir à Paris

Lillian (Lillatron) Marchand will look for gold again at the 2024 European Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu finals
Vernon’s Lillian Marchand is back in Paris, the site of the European Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships, which catapulted her to gold medals in the Grand Slam of the sport in 2023. (File photo)

Paris, the city of light.

For Vernon’s Lillian Marchand, it’s the city of action. And a chance to use the language she studies as a student at W.L. Seaton Secondary.

The athlete affectionately known as Lillatron for her prowess in the martial art of Brazilian jiu jitsu is back in Paris to compete at the 2024 European championships.

The event runs Jan. 20 to 27.

Marchand, a member of the Okanagan Indian Band, won her division in Paris a year ago, catapulting the then-16-year-old to one of the greatest seasons ever by a First Nations woman athlete.

She won the Grand Slam of Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ), capturing gold at the European, World, and Pan Championships, and at Brasileiro.

Marchand’s four gold medals were the first ever for a Canadian woman, garnering recognition within the sport and from young women athletes around her home in the Okanagan.

“I felt like I had a little bit of pressure on me during the first event (European Championships) because if I didn’t win that one, then I wouldn’t have been able to win the Grand Slam,” Marchand told The Morning Star in 2023. “But once I won it, I had confidence in the next few tournaments.”

BJJ is a form of martial arts that relies on flow. Competitors have a set time limit during a match where one tries to score as many points as possible by executing moves. If you do end up submitting someone, that is an instant victory.

She took up the sport when she was just five, after getting bullied in school.

Marchand trains out of the NOS BJJ and MMA camp in Vernon, and has been coached by Mario Deveault since she first stepped foot into the gym. She also spends time in San Diego, where she trains with and competes for the Atos Jiu-Jitsu Academy.

READ MORE: Vernon’s Lillian Marchand rewrites history books in Brazilian jiu-jitsu

READ MORE: Vernon fighter wins double gold at world event

Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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