UAE win record 12 medals at MMA Youth World Championships

Team ends with four golds, four silvers and four bronze to finish fourth in table in Abu Dhabi

The UAE's Zamzam Al Hammadi after she won gold on the second day of the IMMAF Youth World Championships at Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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The UAE finished with a record 12 medals in the IMMAF Youth World Championships in Abu Dhabi to clinch fourth place in the overall table.

The historic haul included four golds, four silvers and four bronze, compared to four medals in last year's competition.

This year's competition saw UAE athletes Fahad Al Hammadi (Youth A/70.3kg division), Ghala Al Hammadi (Youth B/40kg division), Saif Alblooshi (Youth C/40kg division) and Zamzam Al Hammadi (Youth B/52kg division) win gold medals.

Ukraine topped the medals table with 11 golds, 16 silver and 14 bronze. They rounded off the final day of the four-day championships with two golds, a silver and a bronze.

The USA finished in second place with six golds, seven silvers and five bronze and Tajikistan were in third spot on six golds, three silvers and five bronze. The championships, held at the capital's Mubadala Arena, drew more than 600 athletes from 46 countries. It was the second year in a row that the UAE has hosted the event.

Brigadier Mohammed bin Dalmouj Al Dhaheri, board member of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Federation and chairman of the federation’s Mixed Martial Arts Committee, expressed his satisfaction with the success of the championships as well as the performance of the national team.

“The remarkable organisation and resounding success of the championship, which we proudly hosted for the second consecutive year, can be attributed to the unwavering support from the UAE’s visionary leadership and their continuous guidance for the country’s sports and athletes,” he said.

“The successful conclusion of the championships has once again solidified the UAE’s reputation as the world’s MMA capital.

“We extend our heartfelt congratulations to national team for their outstanding performance securing a historic achievement of 12 medals. Our aim is to build on this success in the upcoming edition of the World Mixed Martial Arts Championship, which will be hosted by Abu Dhabi next year.”

The UAE's Jasem Al Hosani failed to replicate his victory last year as the team ended the final day on Saturday without a medal.

The defending champion drew a first-round bye but went down to Belgian Said Akhmed in a unanimous decision in the round of eight in the 77.1-kilogramme weight division, which was eventually won by Ukrainian Yavhenii Kabanets.

Al Hosani won the solitary gold when the UAE made their debut in the Youth Worlds last year.

Mikheili Meskhi, coach of Georgia team, paid tribute to Abu Dhabi for hosting the championships.

“In the past few years, I have been following how Abu Dhabi has been hosting quite a few global sporting events, especially in combat sports,” he said.

“Given Abu Dhabi’s experience and world-class infrastructure, it’s not surprising that the MMA Youth Championship is being organised so well. It has truly been a great experience to participate here, with our athletes competing against some of the best.

“It’s a valuable learning experience as they get to test their skills in an international environment.”

Updated: August 05, 2023, 4:51 PM