ABU DHABI: The UAE’s Zayed Al-Katheeri and Khaled Al-Shehhi emerged victorious on Thursday to secure berths in their respective Professional Black Belt finals in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championships at Mubadala Arena.
Friday’s gold-medal matchups will pit both Emiratis against Brazilians with Al-Katheeri taking on Yuri Hendrex in the 56 kg weight category and Al-Shehhi facing Meyran Alves in the 62 kg division.
UAE athletes, representing various local clubs and academies, won six medals on the penultimate day of action before the Friday finale and Saturday’s awards ceremony. In the team competition for the purple and brown belts, Commando Group claimed first place, followed by AFNT in second and Baniyas in third place.
Asma Al-Hosani of Baniyas Jiu-Jitsu Club won gold in Women’s Gi/Purple/ Professional/55 kg, while Hessa Al-Shamsi of Al-Wahda Club Jiu-Jitsu Academy won bronze in the same division.
In the Men’s Gi/Brown/Professional/69 kg division, Mohammed Al-Swaidi of Baniyas Jiu-Jitsu Club won silver, while in the Men’s Gi/Purple/Professional/85 kg, Saeed Al-Kubaisi of Al-Wahda Club Jiu-Jitsu Academy won bronze.
Mohammed Saeed Al-Ketbi, representing Al-Ain Jiu-Jitsu Club, won silver in the Men’s Gi/Purple/Professional/56 kg. Omar Ali Al-Suwaidi also impressed with a gold for the Baniyas Jiu-Jitsu Club in the Men’s Gi/Brown/Professional/56 kg division.
Mohammed bin Dalmouk Al-Dhaheri, board member of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, congratulated the fighters, saying: “Athletes in purple, brown, and black belts have delivered impressive performances today. The competitions were really intense and exciting.
He added: “I congratulate our champions who have made it to the podium today. This is the result of their continuous work, diligence in training and optimal preparations.
“I am confident that this golden generation of Emirati champions will continue achieving with the unlimited support of the wise leadership as well as the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, which is keen to translate the leadership’s vision and directives into a tangible reality.”
Zayed Al-Katheeri, representing Commando Group, secured a place in the Men’s Gi/Black/Professional/56 kg final by outscoring Gevorg Arutyunyan of Zr Team Association in his first match and AFNT’s Samat Aitpanbet in the second.
“I am thrilled to secure a win today and advance to the finals,” he said. “It’s a significant day for me, as I am determined to defend my title from last year. I’ve prepared extensively and believe I can give my best performance to secure victory.”
Meanwhile Al-Shehhi, also representing Al-Ain Jiu-Jitsu Club, won three fights on his way to the finals. He defeated Giorgi Razmadze of Gojira Jiu-Jitsu before following up with a victory against Mario Navarrete of Wolfpack Jiu Jitsu Mexico in the second, and compatriot Sultan Alowais of Sharjah Self-Defense Sports Club in the the third.
“It was a tough day today, to be honest, with three challenging fights, but I’m grateful that I made it,” he said. “I’m eagerly looking forward to the fight tomorrow, fully aware that it won’t be an easy path. I am fully prepared to face any challenge that comes my way and make everyone proud.”