UAE tops Asian Jiu-Jitsu Championship medal table for third successive time

National team return from Bangkok with seven golds, five silvers and four bronze medals

The UAE jiu-jitsu national team on their arrival at the Dubai International Airport on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. Photo: UAEJJF
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Faisal Al Ketbi, the most decorated Emirati jiu-jitsu athlete, sees the UAE team’s success at the Asian Championship as a platform to achieve similar success at the Asian Games in Hangzhou later in the year.

The UAE topped the medals table for the third time in a row at the Rangsit University Stadium in Bangkok this past weekend.

Al Ketbi and his team returned with seven golds, five silver and four bronze medals at the seventh edition of the continental championship that drew a record 581 athletes from 30 countries.

“We certainly had the this championship as a platform for the Asian Games in September and I think a majority of the participating countries in this competition may have had the same objectives,” Al Ketbi told The National on his arrival at the Dubai International Airport on Wednesday.

“Jiu-jitsu has spread across the continent and the levels have improved remarkably over the years, which we realised at this championship. With the Asian Games in September, I believe the competitions will continue to get harder, and by the time we go into the Asian Games, a lot can change.

“For us, we have an incredible federation with a clear pathway to take our athletes to the next level. We have a schedule running throughout the year and for every competition that the national team takes part.”

The UAE squad travelled to Sydney, Australia, for a camp before heading to Bangkok for the continental championship from February 24 to 28.

“The success we enjoy today is due to the continuity of the work all-round. Our federation has left no stone unturned to get us into this position,” Al Ketbi, the longest serving jiu-jitsu athlete in the national team, added.

Al Ketbi won gold in the 85kg weight. Joining him were six other gold medallists – Theyab Al Nuaimi (56kg) Mohammad Al Suwaidi (69kg), Omar Al Fadhli (62kg), Abdullah Al Kubaisi (94kg) in the men’s division, and Hamdah Al Shkeili (45kg) and Shamma Al Kalbani (63kg) in the women's.

The UAE's silver medalists were Omar Al Suwaidi (56kg), Khaled Al Shehhi (62kg), Saeed Al Kubaisi (70kg,) in the men's, and Marwa Al Hosani (70 kg), Aysha Al Shamsi (45 kg) in the women's.

Mahdi Al Awalaqi (77kg) and Hazaea Farhan (94kg) in the men's, and Balqees Abdulkareem (48 kg) and Asma Al Hosani (52kg) in the women's, returned with bronze.

The Philippines took second spot in the medal table with four golds and two bronze while South Korea finished third with one gold, three silver and four bronze.

Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, general secretary of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation is confident the team is moving in the right direction ahead of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation’s World Championship in Mongolia in July and the Asian Championship.

“The team’s performance level is rising significantly and the Asian Championship is a great indicator of the team’s readiness for the World Championship and the Asian Games,” he said.

Mubarak Al Menhali, director of the federation’s technical department, added: “These kinds of accomplishments are not accidental; the team put in a lot of effort and deserved this success.

“The coaching staff and players had a sense of teamwork, which can be credited for the performance. I want to congratulate everyone for the outstanding results.”

Updated: March 01, 2023, 1:32 PM