Emirati Faraj Al Awlaqi delighted with Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship gold

This is the 17-year-old fighter's final year in juvenile category

Faraj Al Awlaqi, left, takes guard against Brazilian Bernardo Schirmer in the Abu Dhabi World Youth Championship at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena. Courtesy UAEJJF
Faraj Al Awlaqi, left, takes guard against Brazilian Bernardo Schirmer in the Abu Dhabi World Youth Championship at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena. Courtesy UAEJJF

Faraj Al Awlaqi ended his final year in the juvenile category by grabbing gold at the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena on Tuesday.

The Emirati, 17, overcame Brazilian Bernardo Schirmer by points 5-0 in the 73kg final in his first top flight competition after the promotion to blue belt in early 2020.

Al Awlaqi had won silver in the orange/green belt in the world youths in 2018 but missed out last year when the championship was called off after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m delighted I got the opportunity to compete in the World Youths for the last time and then winning the gold, which is an absolute honour for me and my country,” Al Awlaqi said.

Al Awlaqi is the second of the seven brothers who are all in jiu-jitsu with his older brother Mahdi, 18, in the national team.

“Faraj is an amazing talent,” Pablo Mantogani, his Brazilian coach, told The National.

“He is in the national team’s high performance squad and today he did justice to the UAE federation’s camps and in-house competitions they conducted in preparation for the World Youths.

For Khaled Al Awlaqi and his seven sons, life revolves around jiu-jitsu

“When I first arrived here last year we couldn’t do much because of the Covid-19. This competition today displayed the talents of the Emirati youth and of course, Faraj’s win in the blue belt against an experienced opponent.

“Faraj in my eyes is going to improve with time. This win will give him a lot of confidence and I feel he will make the grade in the men’s championships in two years.”

Al Awlaqi, 17, outclassed compatriots Essa Al Badwawi (7-0), Nasser Juma Al Kaabi (16-0) and Mohamed Yousef Al Hammadi by submission en route to the final.

“Faraj got through the preliminary rounds according to the strategies we had planned earlier,” Mantogani added.

“Bernardo is an experienced fighter because he travels and competes a lot. We planned a strategy against this guy, because he has a good game.”

Al Awlaqi won an early point after passing guard and doubled the lead when he countered a sweep attempt from the Brazilian. He then pulled a guard to score off a sweep to increase his lead to 4-0 and that followed by a penalty point seal the contest.

The host nation won 12 of the 16 gold medals that were up for grabs in the Abu Dhabi World Youth Championships. That wasn’t surprising with the travel restrictions for the Under 18s impacting the participation of overseas fighters.

Helio Seredio of Angola (blue belt 50kg), Biloliddin Mahmadalizoda of Tajikistan (60kg), and Brazilians Krigor Oliveira (66kg) and Eduarda Reis (52kg) were the foreigners to return with golds.

On Wednesday, the spotlight falls on the veterans in the Abu Dhabi World Masters with the final two days on Thursday and Friday reserved for the 12th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

Published: April 6, 2021 09:31 PM

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