ABU DHABI: The UAE national Jiu-Jitsu team came through a tense final day on the mats to retain their Jiu-Jitsu World Championship title in Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City.
Leading the medal table heading into Thursday’s final day, the country’s elite adult athletes grabbed another four medals — two silvers and two bronze — to take their tally to 53 across five days of intense competition in the men’s and women’s under-16, under-18, under-21, and adult divisions.
It was a fine return for the strong team, who beat a haul of 52 medals in the previous edition, in front of a vociferous home crowd at the capital’s Jiu-Jitsu Arena. The 53-medal tally edged the hosts ahead of the Russian Jiu-Jitsu Federation in second, and Kazakhstan in third place.
The first two medals of the day came with Wadima Al-Yafei in the 45-kilogram category and Saif Al-Hemani in the 85kg section, clinching bronze, while Hamdah Al-Shkeili produced a fine performance to win silver in the women’s adult 45kg event.
The UAE’s 53rd and final medal of the championship came when Emirati jiu-jitsu legend Faisal Al-Ketbi took silver in the men’s 85kg final, narrowly losing out on gold to Australia’s William Diaz.
The record-breaking performance provided the host nation’s athletes with perfect preparation heading into the 13th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, which runs from Nov. 14 to 19 at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena.
Fahad Ali Al-Shamsi, secretary-general of the UAEJJF, said: “As the defending champions the pressure was on our athletes to perform this week and match the performance of previous years. They showed great heart, desire, and commitment to not only match previous editions but set a record for the number of medals.
“There are always ways to learn and develop in our beloved sport and this is another fantastic learning experience for our athletes.
“Winning four more medals on the final day, against some of the very best athletes in the world, is something to be very proud of. I congratulate all of the UAE’s athletes and all other athletes from around the world, who travelled to Abu Dhabi and made this one of the most exciting championships in recent memories,” he added.
Al-Shkeili, who added a silver in the adult 45kg to the gold medal she won in the under-21 45kg category, was the only UAE athlete to win two medals this week.
She said: “I couldn’t have wished for this. It was a great experience just representing the UAE on this stage. To win a gold and a silver really is a dream come true.
“This is just the beginning. I must keep on learning, keep improving, and I look forward to doing my country proud in future competitions.”
The UAE national team ended the championship with 18 gold, 16 silver, and 19 bronze medals. The RJF in second, collected 15 gold, 15 silver, and 14 bronze medals, with third-placed Kazakhstan taking eight gold, six silver, and 23 bronze medals.
The UAE will host the 27th Jiu-Jitsu World Championship in 2022.