Colleen Augustin aims to be a world champion in mixed martial arts (MMA) this week, but that has not stopped her from throwing her support behind Fight For Change 2019.
Fight For Change 2019 takes place at Cobra Rugby Club on Nov 23 and will see Twentytwo13 co-founder and editor Haresh Deol take on professional fighter Shareh ‘The Jeneral’ Nasrullah.
The event aims to change the way people, especially the young, view mixed martial arts. It is also aimed at helping to protect the welfare of journalists.
“We need to expose more people to the beauty of MMA and I believe Fight For Change will help do that,” said the 21-year-old who created history when she became Malaysia’s first gold medallist at the IMMAF Asian Championships in May.
“I hope the public come to witness the event so they can better understand the sport.”
“We need more supporters and fighters to come through the ranks and from the grassroots.
“Most people have the wrong perception of MMA. They think it is bloody and violent but it is actually quite beautiful and graceful … especially the amateur and junior version.”
She explained younger exponents are not allowed to strike the face and body of their opponents and focus more on grappling moves and how to defend themselves.
“I believe once people see the other side of MMA, we will be able to get more people interested in the sport – not just exponents but supporters who might be willing to fund fighters.”
Co-organised by Twentytwo13 and Malaysia Mixed Martial Arts Association (MASMMAA), the event is supported by the National Press Club of Malaysia (NPC).
Proceeds from the sale of tickets will be channelled to NPC’s Journalist Welfare Fund and MASMMAA’s youth development programmes.
Penang-born Colleen, who is an avid runner and a Spartan pro athlete, will compete in the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) World Championships at the Khalifa Sports City in Manama, Bahrain which starts tomorrow until Saturday.
“My goal is to be a world champion. I’ve worked hard to be where I am today and it will be great to win the gold medal in Bahrain,” said Colleen.
In May, Colleen won the Asian Strawweight gold medal by defeating Nurzhamal Sadykova of Kazakhstan via TKO, two minutes and 26 seconds into the second round of the final.
But, despite her historic achievement, Colleen has had trouble raising funds to compete in the World Championships. Colleen and MASMMAA set up GoFundMe pages to raise funds for their trip to Bahrain.
Besides Colleen, MASMMAA is sending Brandon Tang, bronze medallist in the men’s Strawweight category at the Asian Championship, and welterweight Jay Chong.
Chong, 18, will create history as he is the first Malaysian to compete in the World Junior Championships which is being held concurrently with the World Championships.
The team and coach, Conrado Furlan Roveri, received a big boost when local sports apparel brand Amnig came forward to sponsor their tracksuits last Thursday.
“This is the first time we have received such sponsorship and I wish to thank Amnig boss Colin (Cheang Yee Hong) for stepping up,” said MASMMAA president Rashid Salleh.
“We are only sending three athletes to Bahrain but I’m confident we can come back with a medal – of any colour.
“Jay will also create history as this is the first time we are sending an athlete to the junior event.”
Main image: (From left) Colleen, Tang, Rashid, Chong and Roveri in their Amnig attire. Picture by Ong Chen Fei of Cfongraphy.