The UAE added two more golds to their overnight tally to finish with a haul of 18 medals in the fifth Jiu-Jitsu Asia Championships in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
Hamdah Al Shikeili took the women’s 45-kilogram final from Tadaporn Sakaew of Thailand and Khaled Al Shehhi surprised Emirati star Omar Al Fadhli in the men’s 62kg on the second and final day of the championships at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena.
Fadhli did not appear to be overly concerned about the defeat that came after his victories over Kazakh Orazaly Aibar and Mehran Sattar of Iran to reach the final.
“I am very happy for my brother Khaled and on his victory,” Al Fadhli said after settling for silver.
“We both have one goal and that’s the future. We’ll aim for gold at both the upcoming Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championships and the IJJF Worlds.
“The UAE dominated the Grand Slam in Miami last month and now we have done well to top the continental championships. We are now ready for the World Pro in November.”
Al Shikeili stunned her more experienced compatriot Wadima Al Yafei in the semi-final by winning 6-0 on points, then going on to win the final 14-0. She won her opening contest over Malika Boboeva of Tajikistan by submission.
“I’m super excited to win my first continental gold and contribute for the UAE to finish on top of this championships,” an emotional Al Shikeili said.
“Going by the scores it may have looked I did pretty comfortably but in fact all fights were very, very hard. How I won didn’t matter. I won gold, that’s what matter at the end.”
The UAE finished with four golds, four silver and 10 bronze medals - followed by Kazakhstan (four gold, three silver, six bronze), Jordan (two gold, three silver, three bronze), Thailand (two gold, two silver, four bronze), then Bahrain and (who both won one gold and one bronze).
The UAE coach Ramon Lemos was pleased with his team's performances. “To be honest, we are happy with the results. We are providing opportunities to a new generation of players,” the Brazilian said.
“The objective is for them to gain experience at this level and not really the results, but they have done quite well to finish on top of the medals table.
“We have many purple belts contesting against opponents of higher ranks at the continental level. We can take a lot of positives from the results and very satisfied with the performances of our athletes.”