ABU DHABI // It is an important weekend for Emirati jiu-jitsu competitors preparing for next month’s Abu Dhabi World Professional Championships.
They will be taking part in three different competitions across three countries that will serve as a final trial for the ninth staging of the Abu Dhabi event from April 15 to 24.
The UAE's elite men will compete at this weekend's Grand Slam London, the final leg of the Abu Dhabi World Tour, after Tokyo, Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro.
The elite youth and junior team members will be in action at the Madrid Youth and Junior Open and the Al Ain Championships is also taking place.
Faisal Al Ketbi, the most celebrated Emirati in the sport, has travelled with the men’s team to London.
Since turning black belt last year, Al Ketbi has naturally found the competition at that level tougher.
He has, however, not given up hopes of reaching the medal rounds in both his 94-kilogramme weight and open divisions.
“Of course I have a chance to reach the medal round because I am a player and I have two hands, two legs like everybody else, and above all the spirit, the confidence, and the support of our federation,” he said.
“When we compete in Abu Dhabi, we have the support of our fans. We have all the means to be the champions, so nothing can stop us from winning.”
Al Ketbi also emphasised how hard it was for anyone to compete at the highest level in the first year.
“I fight against opponents with more experience in this category,” Al Ketbi said when asked of the pressure of competing in the top flight.
“When you reach black belt, let’s say I just got my black belt, and all those with whom I compete have been competing in the black belt for maybe 20 years, even 10 years or maybe five years.
“I just get my black belt and start fighting, so you can see the difference between the number of years and to get that experience and that knowledge I will have to work double and compete for the experience.
“I’m still hopeful by doing the right thing to show that I can do better. I can’t say results will not come soon. It depends on how hard you train and then the result will start coming.”
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