Jiu-jitsu: UAE enjoy gold rush at World Beach event in Thailand

Emirati fighters returned home with five of eight available golds in the men's divisions.

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The UAE underlined their status as the continent’s top jiu-jitsu nation with a haul of five gold medals, five silver and a bronze at the Asian edition of the World Beach tournament in Pattaya, Thailand on Sunday.

The Emirati fighters racked up five of the eight gold medals, including the team event, that were up for grabs in the men’s division.

It meant every member of the squad returned with a medal in the No-Gi (without the traditional kimono) competition.

Thailand won the remaining three finals in the men’s division and made a clean sweep of the women’s competition by winning all five gold.

Zayed Al Kaabi led the gold rush for the UAE. He got the better of Tuan Hoc Nguyen of Vietnam and Achilleus Railli of Thailand in the 94-kilogramme final.

Saoud Abdulla Al Hammadi (85kg), Ibrahim Al Hosani (69kg) and Obaid Salem Al Nuaimi (56kg) were the others to strike gold.

Mubarak Basharhil (120kg), Zayed Saif Al Mansoori (62kg), Abdulla Ali Musalim (69kg), Saaid Ahmad Hajhmodu (77kg) and Khalfan Belhol (85kg) won silver while Saeed Juma Al Mazrouai (62kg) returned with a bronze.

The UAE, adopting a rotation policy of their national team, fielded one of their development squads.

“The tournament in Thailand is our first international competition in a busy 2017-2018 calendar,” said Yousef Al Bairaq, the chef de mission.

“We travelled with a squad combining experience and youth. The whole idea of the federation is to provide our fighters as many opportunities as possible to compete in the international circuit.”

The UAE’s next stop is the World Games in Poland later this month, followed by the second Asian Championship in Vietnam (August 11-13) and the fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan (September 16-17).

There is also the Grand Slam World Tour that kicks off with Tokyo (July 15), Los Angeles (September 23-24), Rio de Janeiro (November 10-12), Abu Dhabi (January 12-13) and London (March 10-11).