ULAANBAATAR: The UAE’s top grapplers kicked off their campaign at the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship by capturing four medals, including two gold, one silver, and one bronze, on day one of the competition in Mongolia.
The championship is taking place in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar and will continue until July 20.
Balqees Al-Hashemi gave the UAE a strong start on Tuesday by winning gold in the women’s 45 kg division and she was soon followed on the podium by Faisal Al-Ketbi, who secured gold in the men’s 94 kg category.
Saeed Al-Kubaisi won the silver medal in the 85 kg category, and Aisha Al-Shamsi won the bronze medal in the 45 kg division, solidifying the UAE’s pursuit of retaining the title.
Fahad Ali Al-Shamsi, secretary general of the UAE and Asian jiu-jitsu federations and head of the UAE national team delegation at the tournament, praised the athletes.
“The number of medals today is a reason for optimism in our pursuit of retaining the title,” he said. “The male and female fighters delivered a wonderful performance, with Balqees Al-Hashemi standing out as she made history by becoming the first female UAE champion to win gold in the adult category in the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. These results showcase the federation’s success strategy in uncovering talents and nurturing champions with the highest international standards.”
“The team had a promising start in the tournament and we are optimistic about our athletes’ ability to continue improving their performance in the upcoming competitions over the next two days,” Al-Shamsi added. “The dedication and hard work of the athletes, under the guidance of the technical and administrative staff, are decisive factors as we strive to reach new heights and preserve our position at the top.”
Al-Ketbi added another gold to his illustrious record, showcasing exceptional skills throughout the day’s fights. His experience and expertise on the mat stood out.
“I dedicate this achievement to the UAE leadership and people of the country, the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation headed by His Excellency Abdel Moneim Al-Hashemi, chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, president of the Asian Ju-Jitsu Union and senior vice president of the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation, and all those who support us on our journey towards fulfilling goals that bring joy to our country,” Al-Ketbi said.
“We are still at the beginning, and I have full confidence in the ability of my teammates to achieve the desired results and increase the UAE’s medal count. We stand in full support of them.”
Al-Hashemi, the world champion in the 45 kg category, was overjoyed after winning gold.
“I believe the training camp in Sweden played a crucial role in my preparation for the event, which ultimately led to these impressive results,” she said. “I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to coach Ramon Lemos, who constantly motivates the athletes to unleash their potential and perform at their best. I can’t describe the immense pride we feel when we see the UAE flag on the podium and hear the national anthem.”
The competition continues on Wednesday with men competing in the 62 kg, 69 kg and over 94 kg divisions, and women in the 52 kg and 57 kg categories.
Khaled Al-Shehhi, who is competing in the 62 kg category, said: “We have closely watched the fights of our colleagues who participated today and took note of certain factors that will help us be ready for tomorrow and contribute to the team’s medal collection. We have all the necessary elements for fierce competition, and our sights are set only on the title.”