UAE's Shamma Al Kalbani clinches third successive gold at Jiu-Jitsu Asian Championship

She now eyes more glory as she challenges French No. 2 Lina Grosset in Abu Dhabi Extreme Championship in Paris

The UAE's Shamma Al Kalbani, right, on her way to victory against Azhar Salykova of Kazakhstan in the Jiu-Jitsu Asian Championship women’s 63-kilogram semi-finals. Photo: UAEJJF
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Having collected a third successive gold to help the UAE claim a fourth consecutive championship title at the Jiu-Jitsu Asian Championship, Shamma Al Kalbani is now ready to start a new chapter in the martial arts sport.

She is set to become the first Emirati female to feature in the recently established Abu Dhabi Extreme Championship, an event that brings together both elite Jiu-Jitsu practitioners and grapplers to the cage to compete in the two different competitions in a three-round contest.

The fourth edition of the championship will be held in Paris on May 18 with Al Kalbani, 21, pitted against the French No. 2 Jiu-Jitsu fighter Lina Grosset, 31.

“I’m delighted to win a third successive gold in the Asian Championship and help the UAE top the Jiu-Jitsu medals table for the fourth successive year,” Al Kalbani told The National.

“Every medal that I have won in any competition is a celebration for me and immensely important in helping my country to top the medals table. Tonight, I’m celebrating but tomorrow I’m back in the gym preparing for the ADXC.

“Obviously, it’s a new challenge and a new format inside the cage over three rounds. The surroundings are obviously new but my Jiu-Jitsu remains strong for this contest. I want to go out there and give my best to return with the belt, hopefully.”

In the Asian Championship, Al Kalbani got the better of Bashayer Al Matrooshi in an all-UAE final in the 63-kilogram weight.

She overcame Korean Joo Choi-hee and Azhar Salykova of Kazakhstan in the quarter-final and semi-final, respectively.

“For me, it’s important to keep winning every championship that I take part in and proudly stand on the podium on the background of the nation’s national anthem,” she said when asked of the competition.

“It’s a tough sport and every win must be earned. Sometimes when you step down a level, it may appear to be easy but it is not. I’m just glad it turned out to be an all-Emirati final.”

Al Kalbani made her debut in the continental championship in 2021, winning a bronze. Since then, she has won an Asian Games in Hangzhou 2022 and was the first Emirati to win a medal at the World Games when she bagged two bronze medals in the 63kg and open division in Birmingham, Alabama in July 2021.

“The success I have enjoyed is a combination of the passion I have for Jiu-Jitsu and the unstinting support and encouragement from my family and the federation,” she added.

“These achievements are a reflection of the hard work and obviously the support from our federation, without which I wouldn’t have reached this level and achieved all the successes I have enjoyed so far. I’m really proud to represent the UAE and bring more success for my country.”

Khaled Al Shehhi, who joins Al Kalbani in the ADXC, had to settle for silver in the men’s 62kg weight. He went down to Abdulmalik Al Murdhi in the final.

The UAE topped the medals table with six golds, seven silvers and five bronze. Korea finished second on three golds, one silver and five bronze, and Mongolia in third on 2-2-1. Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain returned with a gold each.

Updated: May 06, 2024, 2:54 PM