The UAE national Jiu-Jitsu team came through an intense final day on the mats to retain their Jiu-Jitsu World Championship title at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena 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 medal tally to 53 across five days of intense competition in the men and women Under-16, Under-18, Under-21 and Adult divisions.
It was a fine return for the strong team, who did the host nation proud and set a new national record, beating the 52 medals in the previous edition, in front of a vociferous crowd at the home of jiu-jitsu. The 53 medal tally put the UAE Falcons on top of the world ahead of RJF in second and Kazakhstan in third place.
The first two medals of the day came from Wadima Al Yafei, 45 kg and Saif Al Hemani, 85 kg, clinching the bronze. Cheered on by a knowledgeable crowd, 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 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 enhanced the UAE’s reputation as a jiu-jitsu nation and provided the country’s leading athletes with the perfect preparation heading into the 13th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, the largest and most prestigious championship on the global jiu-jitsu calendar, which runs from 14-19 November, at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena.
"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," said Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, general secretary of UAEJJF.
"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.
"The hard work of us as a federation and as a team cannot stop now and we look forward to welcoming the world once again for the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship next week."
Al Shkeili, who added a silver in the Adult 45kg to the gold medal she won in the Under-21 45kg category, the only UAE athlete to win two medals this week, said: "I couldn’t have wished for this. It was 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. RJF in second, collected 15 gold, 15 silver and 14 bronze, with third-placed Kazakhstan taking 8 gold, 6 silver and 23 bronze.
The UAE will host the 27th Jiu-Jitsu World Championship in 2022. — Wam
Ubekistan prevailed 3-1 to grab the overall lead in the ultra-competitive Open section
Victory underlines the dominance of Australia's women, who are also world champions in the 20-over and 50-over formats
Opener Shreyas Iyer clubs 64
The Norwegian lived up to the hype since his transfer from Borussia Dortmund to give the champions a perfect start to the season in the searing heat of East London
Emirates' medal tally sits on an impressive three, two gold and one bronze
Shreyas Iyer clubs 64, while Deepak Hooda makes 38
The Red Devils go down 2-1 to Brighton at Old Trafford