UAE scoop 11 golds at Jiu-Jitsu World Youth Championship

Khaled Al Shehhi and Omar Al Suwaidi complete double golds while Emirati females also shine

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The UAE bagged a rich haul of medals during the JJIF World Youth Championship at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena on Monday.

They racked up 11 golds, two silvers and two bronze to take their overall tally to 64 (27g, 17s and 20b) and top the medal table, followed by Kazakhstan (21g, 14s, 37b) and Germany (16g, 13s, 16b) in the second week of the championship.

Khaled Al Shehhi (63kg) and Omar Al Suwaidi (56kg) completed gold double, having won the men’s finals in their respective weight divisions last week.

“The men’s championship was stronger but that didn’t make the U21 contest any easier,” Al Shehhi said after his victory over Israeli Amitmeir Burshtein in the final.

“This was my dream from three years ago, to win double gold in the Worlds and I have achieved that tonight. It will remain as one of my best memories in jiu-jitsu.

“More importantly, I have achieved these result for my country. There is no better feeling to hear our national anthem and the flag raised in a competition.”

Al Shehhi will be hoping to take the winning formula to next week’s Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. The World Pro, as it is popularly known, will be a tougher challenge and Al Shehhi is expected to once again feature in the men’s open and the Abu Dhabi World Youths.

“It was an amazing night for us,” Al Suwaidi added. “In my weight division we managed to make it an all-Emirati final, which was quite remarkable considering the level of the overseas fighters.

“But as my teammate Khaled mentioned, we were more confident after coming through the men’s competition to the youth level, which is not always easy in combat sport. I had a tough contest against Afek [Agababa of Israel] to reach the final.”

Joining Al Shehhi and Al Suwaidi in the gold rush in the male category were Saeed Al Kubaisi (85kg), Mahdi Al Awlaqi (77kg), Zayed Salem (94kg) and Hazea Farhan (over 94kg).

Shamma Al Kalbani led Emirati females' charge to the podium with a superb victory over Suriya Desai of Canada in the 63kg final.

“I was pretty confident after winning bronze in the women’s open,” Al Kalbani, the first Emirati female to win a medal [bronze] at the World Games in USA in the summer, said.

“It obviously was a good day for the team with four of my teammates winning golds. It definitely was reward for the hard work we have put in, day in and day out.

“Of course we are very fortunate to have the backing of our federation and the enormous input in our preparation from the technical staff.”

Asma Al Hosani got the better of Shamsa Al Ameri in 52kg and Hamda Al Shkeili overcame Sara Al Hammadi in 45kg, both all-Emirati finals. Balqees Abdulkareem (42kg) and Fakhera Al Mannsoori (70kg) continued the golden run for the host team.

Updated: November 07, 2022, 4:21 PM