Another 4 gold medals for Nickole

Posted on Oct 19 2022

Nickole Salem lets out a road after collecting three gold medals in the NAGA JiuJitsu Tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina last Sept. 17. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Jiu Jitsu practitioner Nickole Salem collected four gold medals competing in two tournaments in the U.S. mainland last month.
The 5-year-old dynamo won three gold medals in the NAGA JiuJitsu Tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina last Sept. 17.

What made the feat more amazing was Salem competed in the boys division that was also 10 lbs over her usual weight division.

She also struck gold in the Newbreed Fall Championship held a week before last Sept. 10 in Savannah, Georgia.

Salem won a championship belt in the advance division against two other competitors with both victories coming via submission.

She also won second place in a higher weight division (30 lbs over her weight) against higher belts.

“She normally fights in the gray belt division at 45 lbs and below. Lately, she hasn’t been getting anyone to register because it’s rare, so she is forced to fight with bigger kids,” said Nickole’s father, Nicko, who was born and raised on Saipan.

The older Salem said her daughter dedicates the medals she won last month to all the kids, parents, and coaches in her gym that’s been helping her get better everyday in the sport.  

“She attributes her succes to just showing up everyday and having fun in jiu jitsu,” he said.

On Nickole’s experience in both events, Nicko said they were on opposite sides of the spectrum. 

“Her reaction after the tournament in Savannah was a little rough because she faced much bigger kids. She cried a little, but was taught to be resilient after the fact. The second tournament in Myrtle Beach, she completely dominated and was super delighted at taking three gold medals home,” he said.

The proud parent said after the tournament in Myrtle Beach, a lot of parents approached them about Nickole’s training regimen. 

“We met people from Guam and other Pacific Islands that gave a lot of good comments on Nickole’s performance. We were really happy that people noticed her hard work. Some said that she was really inspiring to watch.”

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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