The UAE picked up eight medals including three golds on the opening day of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation (JJIF) Youth World Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Tuesday.
Ahmed Al Shamsi claimed the first gold for the UAE in the 42kg division, followed by Obaid Al Ketbi and Harib Al Hammadi in the 50kg and 55kg categories in the U16 division.
Appearing in the age group division for the first time, the Emirati fighters displayed impressive skills to finish the day with three golds, two silver and three bronze in a solid start to the championship.
Salem Al Hamoud (+73kg) and Adnan Al Zarooni (60kg) won silver while Aysa Alblooshi (38kg), Hamdan Al Najar (46kg), and Abdulaziz Al Akidi (66kg) took bronze.
The UAE have topped the medals table in the last three editions and have travelled with a 86-member squad across four age groups.
“While the competition was tough, the feeling of winning today was simply indescribable,” Al Shamsi said after his win over Russian David Piranian, who was competing under the JJIF flag in the final.
“Winning this medal means that all the efforts we poured in over the past months have yielded the desired results, providing a motivating boost. Becoming a world champion means I’ll double my efforts, draw inspiration, give my utmost, and continue forging ahead.”
Al Ketbi added: "Standing on the top spot in a huge tournament like this is a really big achievement for me, especially because I've never competed at this level internationally before."
“We're super happy about this win, which shows how awesome the UAE is. We're proud that we could do what people hoped for from our group of champions. And we're hoping that this win is just the start of the UAE doing really well in the World Championships.”
Mohamed Salem Al Dhaheri, deputy chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, was all praise for the team’s performance.
“They have performed incredibly well despite the tough competition,” he said. “As jiu-jitsu continues to grow worldwide, both the national teams and athletes are experiencing remarkable progress, which intensifies the level of international competition.
“This positive outcome is in line with the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s vision to promote the sport globally, as evidenced by our hosting of major international events.”
The UAE enjoyed similar success at the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship in Mongolia in July and the Asian Championship in Thailand in February.
“Their exceptional achievements also resonated in the Grand Prix events in Thailand and Paris,” Al Dhaheri added.
“These accomplishments vividly illustrate where the team is headed to, and we have complete faith in their capacity to amass more medals and claim more titles in the times ahead.”
Germany, with six golds, three silver and two bronze, topped the medals tally on day one followed by hosts Kazakhstan (4g, 7s, 9b), JJIF (4, 6, 14), Greece (3, 3, 7) and UAE (3, 2, 3).
The four-day championships has drawn over 1,100 fighters from 44 countries. The second day will see U16 and U18 girls in action.