Faisal Al Ketbi and Shamma Al Kalbani strike gold as UAE tops medal table in Thailand GP

National team return from jiu-jitsu competition with nine golds, seven silvers and four bronzes in the two-day event

The UAE women’s team with their medals from the Thailand GP. Photo: UAEJJF
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The UAE jiu-jitsu national team topped the medals table at the Thailand Grand Prix as Faisal Al Ketbi and Shamma Al Kalbani both struck gold.

The national team secured nine golds, seven silvers and four bronzes in Bangkok, led by the country’s most decorated jiu-jitsu athlete Al Ketbi, and the leading Emirati female fighter Al Kalbani.

“These accomplishments are a direct result of the unwavering support from our wise leadership and the tireless efforts of our federation chairman Abdulmunam Al Hashemi,” Al Ketbi said of the team’s accomplishments in the two-day event that drew 205 athletes from 17 countries.

“Their guidance has propelled us towards success, allowing us to achieve championships and establish the UAE's global leadership in the sport.”

Al Ketbi overcame Abdullah Al Kubaisi in an all-Emirati final in the 94-kilogram weight.

Al Kalbani expressed her enthusiasm and motivation to continue striving for success after claiming the 63kg women’s final.

“The Thailand Grand Prix has undoubtedly played a significant role in enhancing my technical expertise and experience,” she said.

“I am deeply indebted and grateful to my coaches and teammates for their unwavering support and guidance. Their encouragement keeps me motivated to perform well, win medals, and represent our nation with pride at international events.”

Faisal Al Ketbi on his way to victory over teammate Abdullah Al Kubaisi at the Thailand Grand Prix on May 20, 2023. – UAEJJF

Al Hashemi was all praise for the patronage of the UAE President Sheikh Mohamed and Sheikh Khaled, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Executive Council.

“The remarkable performance of the UAE national team is a clear testament to the valuable initiatives implemented by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed and nurtured by His Highness Sheikh Khaled,” he said.

“Their dedicated efforts are now bearing fruit, as evidenced by the team's success. The team's ultimate ambition is to stand atop the podium and secure even more victories.

“The Thailand Grand Prix was a unique opportunity to measure the development in the performance of athletes before participating in the World Championships in Mongolia in July and the Asian Games in Hangzhou in September.”

Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, general secretary of the UAEJJF, added: “Of the 24 athletes from the national team, 20 have won medals. These numbers reflect the importance of achievement.

“This year, the team has already achieved more than 50 medals during the first five months, starting with the Asian Championship in Bangkok, followed by the Paris Grand Prix and now the Thailand Grand Prix.

“We have six more international events remaining in the season, including the Asian Games and World Championships, and I can’t wait to see the UAE team shine brightly in those championships.”

Updated: May 23, 2023, 12:03 PM