It’s a remarkable feat.

Queenstown jiu jitsu prodigy Lem Patelesio, 12, only got into the sport at the start of last year, training with Te Manawa Jiu Jitsu.

Since then, he’s competed in 12 competitions across the country, bringing home 20 gold medals, two national titles — for the 2023 New Zealand Grappler Gi and Stealth Submissions National No Gi — claimed last month’s NZ Grappler Oceania Open Jiu Jitsu title, in Auckland, and has four silver and four bronze medals.

In August, he’ll test his mettle internationally at the IBJJF Jiu Jitsu Con Kids International and the North America Grappling Association’s Vegas Grappling & BJJ Championships, in the United States.

He was initially planning to head to a competition in Japan, but says ‘‘the competition will be bigger and better in Las Vegas’’.

Training five days a week to get ready, he and his mum, Monica, are also fundraising to cover the costs of his flights and accommodation.

That includes a raffle through Lem’s Insta page — @lempatelesio_jiujitsu.

Tickets cost $25 each; prizes include an Xbox and beauty hamper valued at $700.

He’s also launched a Givealittle page — — to help cover costs.

As to what he enjoys about jiu jitsu, Lem says he likes ‘‘how everyone has their own style’’.

Monica says she’s blown away by her son.

‘‘I’m really proud, he puts in the hard work and it really shows when he goes out to compete.’’

[email protected]

- Advertisement -