Omar Al Fadhli strikes gold at Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

UAE clinch six golds, 11 silvers and five bronze medals at World Pro

Omar Al Fadhli (in white) has Macley Silva pinned in the 62-kilogram purple belt final at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena on Thursday, April 8, 2021. Courtesy UAEJJF
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Rising Emirati jiu-jitsu star Omar Al Fadhli urged his fellow citizens to “live their dreams” after striking gold at the 12th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

Al Fadhli, 20, outclassed Brazilian Macley Silva, also 20, by points 3-1 in the 62kg purple belt final for his third gold in the championship – also known as the World Pro – at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena on Thursday.

In 2019, Al Fadhli won gold in both the youth and men’s blue belt at the World Pro. The 2020 event was called off after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I want to send a message to all my fellow Emiratis and tell them not to give up on their dreams because this country has given us all the support we need to pursue on our chosen careers,” Al Fadhli said.

“It’s an obligation of every citizen to show their gratitude and give something back to our beloved country.”

Al Fadhli drew a first round bye and overcame Thomy Yano of Japan 3-1 and compatriot Saleh Al Dhraibi by submission in the semi-final. He then had to claw back from a point down to clinch the final.

“It was tough fights all the way to the final,” Al Fadhli added. “My final opponent has been winning many competitions around the world but then that’s the calibre of fighters you expect at this level.

“Every fight is tough and hard to win these days because the bar is raised every time you enter a competition. For me, it has been hard work, discipline and commitment all the way.”

Zayed Al Katheeri (left) has Brazilian Everton Celio in a triangle choke in the 56-kilogram purple belt final at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena on Thursday, April 8, 2021. Courtesy UAEJJF

It was also Al Fadhli’s third gold of the year after his success at the Abu Dhabi and Moscow Grand Slams.

“The year isn’t over for me,” he said when asked of the competitions he has managed to take part in the year.

“I have many people to thank, including my family for giving me the permission to pursue jiu-jitsu full time. Our federation has taken care of me and provided me the best facilities and support to take me where I am today.”

Joining him in the spotlight on the day was teammate Zayed Al Katheeri, who was impressive winner over another Brazilian Everton Celio in the 56kg purple belt final.

Al Katheeri, 21, led 5-0 on point before ending the fight in under three minutes with a triangle choke.

“I was confident to reach the final and I was prepared to take him [Celio] on,” he said.

“I have trained the same move and it just so happened that I could execute on my opponent.”

The UAE bagged six golds, 11 silvers and five bronze medals on the first day of the World Pro.

Khaled Mohammed Al Shehhi took gold in the blue belt 62kg, Omar Ali Al Suwaidi in the blue belt 56kg, Mohammed Al Amri in the purple belt 73kg and Shamma Al Kalbani in the female blue belt 62kg.

Friday’s second and final day of the World Pro will see the top guns in black belt vying for a slice of the Dh2.7million prize fund as well as a world title. Fans can catch all the action 10.30am to 6.30pm live on Abu Dhabi Sports.