The UAE dominate opening day of inaugural Asian Jiu-Jitsu Championship

The UAE underlined its reputation as the top jiu-jitsu nation in Asia after claiming two golds and two silvers on the opening day.

Faisal Al Ketbi forfeited the 94kg-weight final to his teammate Zayed Al Kaabi in Ashgabat. Delores Johnson / The National
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The UAE underlined its reputation as the top jiu-jitsu nation in Asia after claiming two golds and two silvers on the opening day of the inaugural Asian Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, on Friday.

Yahia Mansour Al Hammadi overcame Iranian Hassan Zadeh 4-0 to win his third gold at a continental championship in the over-94-kilogram weight.

He won double gold at both the Asian Beach Games in Vietnam and the inaugural Asian Beach Championship in Sri Lanka, winning both his weight and the absolute division.

Faisal Al Ketbi, who conceded walkovers to Al Hammadi in Vietnam and Sri Lanka after reaching the final, forfeited the 94kg-weight final to his teammate Zayed Al Kaabi in Ashgabat.

“Our strategy in the weight division where we had two entries was for both to reach the final,” Al Ketbi said.

“We achieved that and thereafter it didn’t matter who wins the gold because it’s one and two for the UAE.”

Each participating country can enter two in each weight category and the absolute division. The UAE has nine entries with two each in the 69kg, 85kg and 94kg.

Al Ketbi has never lost to either Al Hammadi or Al Kaabi in a contest but was too modest to hold that achievement over either of them.

“They work as hard as I do and they deserve all the credit as much as I do on their achievements,” Al Ketbi said of his long-time teammates.

Mohammed Al Qubaisi won the other silver in the 77kg. The UAE are hoping to add to their tally, with the objective to top the medals table in the men’s division as they did in both Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

With five more gold medals up for grabs on the second day, Abdulmunam Al Hashmi, chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, said the success they have had was due to the grassroot development programmes.

“We are reaching the 100,000 mark on those who are actively practicing jiu-jitsu in the country,” he said.

“With this kind of numbers, it’s not surprising the UAE national team’s achievements. We can only get better but there are also a host of countries that are fast emerging as powerhouses in the sport.”

The inaugural Asian Championship has drawn 24 countries vying for nine gold medals in the men’s category and eight in the women’s event.

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