Faisal Al Ketbi leads strong UAE squad at Asian Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Bahrain

The continental event, starting Monday, has drawn 397 entries from 22 countries

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

The UAE national jiu-jitsu team get their 2022 international calendar schedule underway with the sixth Asian Championships in Bahrain, starting on Monday.

UAE SQUAD FOR ASIAN JIU-JITSU CHAMPIONSHIP

Men’s squad: Faisal Al Ketbi, Omar Al Fadhli, Zayed Al Kathiri, Thiab Al Nuaimi, Khaled Al Shehhi, Mohamed Ali Al Suwaidi, Farraj Khaled Al Awlaqi, Muhammad Al Ameri, Mahdi Al Awlaqi, Saeed Al Qubaisi, Abdullah Al Qubaisi and Hazaa Farhan

Women's squad: Hamda Al Shekheili, Shouq Al Dhanhani, Balqis Abdullah, Sharifa Al Namani, Asma Al Hosani, Maitha Sultan, Bashayer Al Matrooshi, Maha Al Hanaei, Shamma Al Kalbani, Haya Al Jahuri, Mahra Mahfouz, Marwa Al Hosani, Tasneem Al Jahoori and Maryam Al Amri

It’s an important year for the Emirati athletes with both the World Games in Birmingham, USA, in July and the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, in September.

Faisal Al Ketbi, the most decorated Emirati jiu-jitsu fighter in history who leads the team of 12 male and 14 female fighters in Bahrain, believes the sport has come of age in the UAE and the squad is fully prepared ahead of the continental event.

“We now have a more professional setup and the training is a continuation of the work we put in every year,” Al Ketbi who competes in the 94-kilogram division told The National.

“It’s indeed an important year for jiu-jitsu starting with the Asian Championship, and then the World Games and the Asian Games, aside from many other international competitions including both the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship and Jiu-Jitsu International Federation’s World Championships.”

The immediate task for Al Ketbi and his team is to win as many medals as possible in the Asian Championship.

“Obviously the objective is to top the medals table, which we a very hopeful of achieving,” Al Ketbi said. “We have travelled with a strong squad but we must remember the others have been preparing with the same objectives. The levels of the other Asian nations have improved many folds and we are expecting tough competition.”

Ramon Lemos and Polyana Lago, the men’s and women’s coaches respectively, have spent months preparing the squads with three daily sessions over the last couple of months.

“For me, every competition is important,” said Lemos, who has been in charge of the national team for six years. “We’re put the final touches on the plans and tactics that will benefit the players on the mats and our focus is on increasing the players’ performance rate as well as improving their physical strength through a comprehensive training programme.

“We concentrate on building fitness levels and following an optimal diet throughout the camp.”

According to Lemos, the team has a diverse group of athletes which includes both time-served pros and young talents who performed well in the Asian and World Championships last year.

"We have a strong squad and are in a good position because several of our athletes have competed in Asian and World Championships before and performed well,” the Brazilian said. “Of course, we’ll be up against experienced training institutes and seasoned athletes, but we’re all set for the task.

Omar Al Fadhli, one of the best young talents to emerge, said representing the UAE in such events increases his feeling of pride but also increases the responsibility.

"I've already tasted victory in this tournament, but things are different this time as I’m a black belt holder,” he said. “My goals have gotten bigger – and my dreams have grown substantially too. I pay attention to the technical staff's directions about always improving my abilities, and we are certain that we will achieve great results.”

Female team member Hamda Al Shekeili added: “Our goal is to reach the peak of our physical and mental fitness in order to improve our chances of winning gold medals in the Asian Championship.

“This year, I’ll be competing with the national team in a few international competitions, which has always brought me joy and pride.”

The championship across three days has drawn 397 entries from 22 countries.

Updated: March 28, 2022, 6:23 AM
UAE SQUAD FOR ASIAN JIU-JITSU CHAMPIONSHIP

Men’s squad: Faisal Al Ketbi, Omar Al Fadhli, Zayed Al Kathiri, Thiab Al Nuaimi, Khaled Al Shehhi, Mohamed Ali Al Suwaidi, Farraj Khaled Al Awlaqi, Muhammad Al Ameri, Mahdi Al Awlaqi, Saeed Al Qubaisi, Abdullah Al Qubaisi and Hazaa Farhan

Women's squad: Hamda Al Shekheili, Shouq Al Dhanhani, Balqis Abdullah, Sharifa Al Namani, Asma Al Hosani, Maitha Sultan, Bashayer Al Matrooshi, Maha Al Hanaei, Shamma Al Kalbani, Haya Al Jahuri, Mahra Mahfouz, Marwa Al Hosani, Tasneem Al Jahoori and Maryam Al Amri

EDITOR'S PICKS