The UAE's youngsters have put their best foot forward, helping their country impress in age group categories of the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship.
After winning 15 more medals, the UAE had an overall tally of 46 – 16 golds, 14 silvers and 16 bronze – on Tuesday with more lined up on Wednesday at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi.
The Russian Jiu-Jitsu Federation with 36 medals (14g, 14s, 8b) and Kazakhstan on 33 (7g, 6s, 20b) were second and third respectively on day three of the championship.
The UAE's U-18 athletes took seven gold, four silver and four bronze medals to go with the 14 medals won by the U-16 team on Sunday and the 17-medal haul claimed by the U-21 side on Monday.
The record haul saw the UAE named the event’s ‘Best Team of the U21' and ‘Best Team of the U18' divisions.
Ibrahim Al Hosani, coach of the U-18 players, said: “The performance of every member of the team was extremely special.
“The team fully deserved their medals, and those who did not make it to the podium should be very proud of themselves as they fought like warriors.
“Each and every one of them will learn something they can take forward to the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship next week.
“The players who didn’t make it to the podium will learn from their defeat and the ones who made it had to battle against some quality opposition to get there – this is wonderful preparation for the World Pro.”
Gameah Al Hammadi won gold in the women’s -70kg category for the hosts. Sabah Al Rasbi took bronze in the same division. Shamma Al Mezaini also secured gold in the -40kg category, while Aysha Al Shamsi came out on top in the -44kg division with Lolwa Al Hosani alongside her on the podium after securing bronze.
Balqees Abdulkareem followed the lead with gold in the -48kg category.
“This was a great achievement to win gold and it was an honour to represent the UAE,” Balqees said.
Mohammed Talal Salem Al Kaabi took gold in the -46kg men's division, getting the better of Mohammed Saeed Al Shehhi in an all-UAE final.
The -55kg category also saw an all-Emirati final, with Mohammed Saeed Al Ketbi overcoming Zayed Thani Al Shamsi.
Faraj Khaled Al Awlaqi also claimed gold in -73kg.
“I’m honoured to win gold and I could not have done this without the dedication and the efforts of the federation and the coaching team,” Al Awlaqi said.
“We are working with the best technical teams to prepare for this incredible opportunity to represent our country. Now that I have won gold, which was my ambition, I will prepare immediately for the World Pro.”