The UAE enjoyed its finest day at the Asian Games as competitors in jiu-jitsu and show jumping racked up one gold, a silver and three bronze medals between them on Friday.
Asma Al Hosani, 19, emerged as the golden girl of the day for the nation, becoming the first Emirati female to win a jiu-jitsu gold, going one step further than Mahra Al Hanaei's heroics to clinch silver at the 2018 Jakarta Games.
Al Hosani overcame the more experienced Jie Miao, 36, by points 2-0 in the women’s 52-kilogram final to claim the second jiu-jitsu gold and third overall for the UAE at these games, taking the nation’s overall tally to three golds, five silvers and eight bronze.
“I have been preparing for this moment for four years, and I was confident of achieving it because when an Emirati girl gets the opportunity and the support, she achieves that goal, no matter how difficult it is,” an emotional Al Hashemi said.
“It was the happiest moment in my life when the UAE flag was raised in the backdrop of the national anthem today in China.
“We were very tired, and we continued day and night in training, camps and competitions in pursuit of this historic moment, and when I climbed to the podium, I forgot all the fatigue because I felt proud to share my happiness with our homeland.”
Shamsa Al Ameri bagged bronze with victory over Yasmin Alami of Jordan in the women’s 57kg weight and Mahdi Al Awlaqi got the better of his sibling Faraj in an all-UAE battle for the bronze in the men’s 77kg division.
“To win gold was the obvious target but returning with a bronze was also an good achievement and, above all, the experience and the lessons I learnt in my first appearance at the Asian Games was really valuable,” Al Ameri said.
Mahdi Al Awlaqi added: “The fights were tough. I was hoping to win gold, but I was not successful, losing the semi-final contest in the last seconds. We benefited a lot from the participation and hope to do better next time.”
While the jiu-jitsu fighters racked up a rich haul of medals, Omar Al Marzooqi and Abdulla Al Marri secured silver and bronze in the show jumping individual competition.
It also marked the first time UAE has won three equestrian medals at the Asian Games, following their bronze in the team event.
Al Marzooqi, 20, riding Dalida VD Zuuthoeve, a mare owned by Al Shira'aa Stables, rode two double clears to make it through to the jump-off. He rode a tremendous tactical round to finish clear in a time of 42.3s to take silver behind Saudi Arabian Abdullah Sharbatly atop Skorphults Baloutendro.
“It wasn’t an easy competition, but the mare jumped six amazing rounds and tried so hard for me,” said Al Marzooqi, who created history by winning silver at the Youth Olympics in Argentina in 2018.
“Coming home with three equestrian medals is a fantastic achievement.”