UAE tops Jiu-Jitsu World Championship medals table for the fourth time in row

Team returns with a rich haul of eight golds, four silvers and two bronze from Mongolia

UAE captain Faisal Al Ketbi and team official Mubarak Al Menhali share the podium with the championship trophy. Photo: UAEJJF
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Emirati fighters rounded off the final day of the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship in a flourish to top the medals table for the fourth time in a row.

They added four golds, two silvers and a bronze on the third and final day of the championship to finish with a haul of eight golds, four silvers and three bronze in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator on Thursday.

Hamdah Al Shkeili opened the gold rush with a splendid victory over Laetitia Boes of France in the women’s 48-kilogram final.

“I am filled with indescribable happiness to gift the UAE with this gold medal,” Al Shkeili said.

“It was a result of many sacrifices and serious preparations I made along with colleagues in the national team. We wanted to translate the support we have got into these results, and I am sure we could do that.

“After the joy, there is no time for rest because the opportunities are many, and the championships are consecutive in the second half of this year.”

Then joining her with golds were Shamma Al Kalbani, the leading Emirati jiu-jitsu female fighter, in the 63kg weight, Theyab Al Nuaimi and Mahdi Al Awlaqi in the men’s 56kg and 77kg respectively.

“Our goals were clear right from the beginning,” Al Kalbani said after her win over Ra Ki-sung of Korea in the 63kg final.

“We entered the arena armed with the highest levels of determination and focus to retain the title. We came out with many gains from this tournament, and our ambition has no limits, as we are thirsty for more titles.

“This achievement will be a great motive for us to achieve more titles and maintain our global dominance.”

Theyab Al Nuaimi overcame Omar Al Suwaidi in an all-Emirati final in the 56kg weight. “We are proud of this great achievement,” Al Nuaimi said. “It was incredible to hear the UAE national anthem playing on multiple occasions today.

Shamma Al Kalbani, right, in action against Korean Ra Ki-sung. Photo: UAEJJF

“We succeeded in building on the accomplishments of our colleagues in the past two days, adding to their work and then crowning the world championship title, retaining it for the fourth year straight,”

The 77kg final turned out to be a family affair with Mahdi Al Awlaqi getting the better of his younger brother Faraj.

“It makes no difference whether the winner in the final is me or my brother,” he said.

“The winner, first and foremost, is the homeland. Four Emirati athletes have qualified for two finals in the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship. It is a clear evidence of the status that the UAE jiu-jitsu has reached, thanks to the unlimited support of our wise leadership and our federation.”

Joining them on the podium on the day was Mohammed Ali Al Suwaidi who won bronze in the 69kg.

Abdulmunam Al Hashemi, President of the UAE jiu-Jitsu Federation paid glowing tribute to the team, particularly the gold medallists in the women’s division Al Kalbani, Al Shkeili and Balqees Al Hashemi, who her final on the opening day on Tuesday.

“The championship witnessed numerous achievements, especially the emergence of many talents who performed exceptionally well,” he said.

“It was also evident in the remarkable prowess of the Emirati girls, once again demonstrating that with adequate support and opportunities, they can excel and astonish in various fields, including sports.

“I admire and consider Balqees, Shamma, and Hamdah as role models for all Emirati girls aspiring to challenge, excel, and prove themselves.

“The support of the wise leadership in the realm of jiu-jitsu and its practitioners forms the cornerstone of every success made by the UAE national team, be it at the continental or global level.”

Updated: July 20, 2023, 4:34 PM