Al Ain retained The President’s Cup title after racking up 21 of the 45 gold medals that were on offer in the fifth and final leg of the jiu-jitsu competition at Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
The Garden City club amassed 3,376 points overall to claim the coveted title for the second time since it was established last year. Al Wahda on 2,535 were second ahead of Al Jazira on 1,982.
Hessa Al Shamsi, who won the women’s 62-kilogram category from national team colleague Alyazyah Al Shehyari of Wahda, said the collective success was the result of the effort put in over a long period of time.
“It’s the culmination of the hard work in a season," Al Shamsi said, "and obviously we are all happy with this achievement.
“In this format we can provide more opportunities for our fighters and that’s what we did throughout this league."
Al Shamsi said for her, it was the final preparation ahead of next month’s Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship.
"I had three fights and they were the top three Emirati girls in my weight class," she pointed out. “Obviously I’m happy with the result and performance. I also used the Grand Slam London two weeks ago as a prep.
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"Of course I couldn’t reach the medal round but The President’s Cup just about sums a season’s work.”
Al Shamsi’s national team and club teammates Wadima Al Yafei (49kg), Maha Al Hanaei (55kg), Maitha Shraim (55kg juvenile) and Bashayer Al Matrooshi (63kg) won gold and used the competition as their final preparations for the World Pro.
Al Ain have taken a strong foothold in jiu-jitsu since the league was instituted three years ago, having topped the medals table in all five legs of the competition.
“We have a project for every sport at the club and what we see now is directly the results of the work,” said Khamis Al Kaabi, head of the sports department at Al Ain Club. “We are fortunate too because we are the only club in the city. We have more than 600 [people] registered in jiu-jitsu and players at all levels from the beginners to the elite.
“We not only want to be the No 1 jiu-jitsu club in the country but in the world. That’s our long-term project.
“We have a high-performance team working with the elite group and have already have many of those in the UAE national junior, youth and senior teams.”