ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia: The UAE national jiu-jitsu team successfully defended its crown at the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship, held in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, to register a fourth consecutive title.
The athletes, affectionately called Jiu-Jitsu falcons, secured an impressive eight gold, four silver, and two bronze medals, outperforming Sweden, which finished in second place, and Thailand, which came in third.
The championship took place from July 15 to 20, with more than 40 countries participating. On the final day, the UAE national team members added six medals — four gold and two silver.
Building on the team’s performances on the first two days of the championship, Hamda Al-Shekeili (48 kg) gave a strong start to the team on Thursday and was soon joined by Shamma Al-Kalbani (63 kg), Theyab Al-Nuaimi (56 kg), and Mahdi Al-Awlaki (77 kg), all gaining gold medals.
Omar Al-Suwaidi (56 kg) and Faraj Al-Awlaki (77 kg) added to the tally with silvers.
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, dedicated the team’s achievements to UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and Vice President, Prime Minister, and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.
Al-Hashemi congratulated the team for its outstanding performance and praised the efforts of the technical and administrative staff during a recent training camp in Sweden.
He said: “The championship witnessed numerous achievements, especially the emergence of many talents who performed exceptionally well.
“It was also evident in the remarkable prowess of the Emirati girls, once again demonstrating that with adequate support and opportunities, they can excel and astonish in various fields, including sports.
“I admire and consider Balqees Abdullah, Shamma Al-Kalbani, and Hamda Al-Shekeili as role models for all Emirati girls aspiring to challenge, excel, and prove themselves,” Al-Hashemi added.
Al-Awlaki, the world champion in the 77 kg weight category, said: “It makes no difference whether the winner in the final is me or my brother. The winner, first and foremost, is the homeland.
“Four Emirati athletes have qualified for two finals in the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. It is clear evidence of the status that the UAE jiu-jitsu has reached, thanks to the unlimited support of our wise leadership and the UAEJJF.”
Al-Shekeili said she would now start getting ready for her next adventure.
“I am filled with indescribable happiness to gift the UAE with this gold medal. It was a result of many sacrifices and serious preparations I made along with colleagues in the national team.
“We wanted to translate the support we have got into these results, and I am sure we could do that.
“After the joy, there is no time for rest because the opportunities are many, and the championships are consecutive in the second half of this year,” she added.
Al-Kalbani once again demonstrated her mettle and superiority in the global jiu-jitsu scene with another gold medal, winning the 63 kg division.
She said: “Our goals were clear right from the beginning. We entered the arena armed with the highest levels of determination and focus to retain the title. We came out with many gains from this tournament, and our ambition has no limits, as we are thirsty for more titles.
“This achievement will be a great motive for us to achieve more titles and maintain our global dominance,” Al-Kalbani added.