The UAE came through the final day on the mats to retain their Ju-Jitsu World Championship title for a second year in Abu Dhabi.
Heading the medal table heading into Thursday’s final day, the host team’s adult athletes grabbed two silvers and two bronze medals, taking their medal tally to 53 across five days of competition in the men and women U16, U18 and U21 divisions.
Faisal Al Ketbi finished second in the men’s 85-kilogram weight and Hamdah Al Shkeili in the women’s 45kg. Wadima Al Yafei (women’s 45kg) and Saif Al Hemani (men’s 85kg) bagged a bronze each to round off the host team’s medal haul.
Al Ketbi, the UAE’s most decorated jiu-jitsu fighter, had to settle for silver after narrowly losing out to Australia’s William Diaz in the final.
The UAE ended the championship with 18 golds, 16 silvers and 19 bronze, one medal better than their previous best.
The Russian Jiu-Jitsu Federation picked up 15 golds, 15 silvers and 14 bronze, and Kazakhstan returned with 8 golds, 6 silver and 23 bronze, to finish in second and third spots respectively.
The record-breaking performance provided the UAE's fighters with the ideal preparation for next week's 13th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the same Jiu-Jitsu Arena from November 14-19.
“As the defending champions the pressure was on our athletes to perform this week and match the performance of previous years,” Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, general secretary of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, said.
“They showed great heart, desire and commitment to not only match previous editions but set a record for the number of medals.
“There are always ways to learn and develop in our sport and this is another fantastic learning experience for our athletes. Winning four more medals on the final day, against some of the very best athletes in the world, is something to be very proud of.
“I congratulate all of the UAE’s athletes and all other athletes from around the world, who travelled to Abu Dhabi and made this one of the most exciting championships in recent memories.
“The hard work of us as a federation and as a team cannot stop now and we look forward to welcoming the world once again for the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship next week.”
The championship saw the emergence of Hamda Al Shkeili, who won a gold and silver medal.
“I couldn’t have wished for this. It was great experience just representing the UAE on this stage. To win a gold and a silver really is a dream come true,” she said.
“This is just the beginning. I must keep on learning, keep improving and I look forward to doing my country proud in future competitions.”
The UAE will host the 27th Ju-Jitsu World Championship in 2022.