Sports Person of the Week - Gavin Sonnier

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 8:08 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Gracie Barra is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy in Lake Charles that produces some of the top Jiu-Jitsu competitors, and one of them is a Welsh native that recently won a gold medal.

“I think that is why he’s so successful because he truly is committed not just for his success, but to the success of every person in this building,” said Gracie Barra instructor Jaime Gomez.

Gavin Sonnier is a fierce competitor on the Jiu-Jitsu mat, and he proved it by winning Gold at the American National IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi championship in June. He says it’s an experience he’ll never forget.

“When I got that gold medal I was kind of shocked for a little while it didn’t really hit me until later that night when I was resting,” said Sonnier. “It was an amazing feeling to know that all my hard work is paying off.”

The Welsh native has been competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since he was 12 and has accumulated 60 medals. Cynthia Davis, an instructor at Gracia Barra martial arts Academy, said Sonnier is a true competitor.

“We just knew he was a special kid. He goes out there and he competes. He becomes a different person. It’s on and you can tell when it’s on like there’s something that just clicks and he just turns something on and he becomes a professional, a competitor,” said Davis.

When Sonnier’s not competing, he’s instructing.

“I love teaching the kids. It’s one of the things that inspires me to keep going seeing these kids out here competing, training, and getting better every day as well as seeing their attitude change over time it’s one of the things I could ever do, " Sonnier said.

As he looks ahead to the World NOGI tournament in October, Sonnier said he just wants to keep winning.

“I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, keep training. Make sure my diet is right. One of my main goals is to become a world champion in the IBJJF rankings especially in the black belt it would be nice to get in the purple, brown and once I get to black get that one as well,” Sonnier added.

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