Faisal Al Ketbi and Shamma Al Kalbani win jiu-jitsu golds in UAE's best Asian Games haul

National team finish 16th in the table with five gold, five silver and nine bronze medals

UAE's Faisal Al Ketbi defended his Asian Games title by defeating Korea's Kim Heeseoung in the men’s 85kg final. Photo: UAEJJF
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Faisal Al Ketbi and Shamma Al Kalbani clinched gold in jiu-jitsu as the UAE rounded off their best Asian Games campaign with five gold, five silver and nine bronze medals on Saturday.

Al Ketbi successfully defended his Asian Games title by defeating Korean Kim Heeseoung by advantage points in the men’s 85kg final while Al Kalbani bagged the 63kg women’s gold with victory over Sung Kira of Korea by points 4-2.

Saeed Al Kubaisi edged out Ruslan Sagdeev of Kyrgyzstan by an advantage point in the bronze medal contest in the men’s 85kg division.

For the second time in succession, jiu-jitsu fighters topped the medals tally for the UAE in the continental spectacle. They racked up four gold, three silver and three bronze medals from the eight weight divisions.

The UAE’s judokas had earlier won one gold, a silver and three bronze while the equestrian team bagged a silver and two bronze, and a bronze in cycling for a final tally of 19 medals, bettering their previous best 14 medals (3g, 6s, 5b) at 2018 Jakarta.

“This kind of medal haul doesn’t come as surprise, however, every medal that we won had to be earned against the best on the continent,” Al Ketbi said of his team’s performance.

“We also deserved it as it was our federation that championed jiu-jitsu across the world. We receive the best of everything in the sport and wish to dedicate this success to our nation’s leadership.

“They have invested in the youth by providing them with the greatest support, in order to reach the summit. My younger colleagues in the national team are the new generation and they surely are capable of continuing their achievements on the continental and world stage.”

Al Ketbi, 35, had to clear three hurdles to reach the final. He outclassed Dean Michael Roxas of the Philippines by points 7-0 in the round of 16, Xiaoshao Zhou of the host nation 5-0 and Omar Tariq Nada of Saudi Arabia 2-0 in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively.

Al Kalbani, 20, got past Thi Nhat Hoang of Vietnam and Khongorzul Bayarmaa of Mongolia both by submission, and Korean Choi Hee-joo by points 6-0 in the semi-final.

“I was ready for gold from last year, as the Games were scheduled to be held in 2022, but postponed by a year, which gave me a longer time and the opportunity to get myself into the perfect shape,” Al Kalbani said.

“Our preparation for the Asian Games was perfect with the support of our federation headed by our chairman Abdulmunam Al Hashemi.

“He left no stones unturned to get us into this shape with internal and external camps and competitions to get us to the right level both mentally and physically before the Asian Games.”

Updated: October 07, 2023, 3:41 PM