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UAE jiu-jitsu stars Faisal Al-Ketbi and Shamma Al-Kalbani clinch Asian Games gold

UAE jiu-jitsu star Faisal Al-Ketbi celebrates his gold medal at the Asian Games in China. (UAEJJF)
UAE jiu-jitsu star Faisal Al-Ketbi celebrates his gold medal at the Asian Games in China. (UAEJJF)
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10 Oct 2023 06:10:50 GMT9
10 Oct 2023 06:10:50 GMT9
  • Emiratis dominated jiu-jitsu competitions in China, securing a total of 10 medals, including four gold, three silver, and three bronze

Arab News Japan

HANGZHOU: The UAE jiu-jitsu national team maintained their successful performances at the Asian Games as Faisal Al-Ketbi and Shamma Al-Kalbani claimed gold in their respective categories during the competitions held at Xiaoshan Linpu Gymnasium JJI, while Saeed Al-Kubaisi bagged silver.

The UAE has topped the overall jiu-jitsu rankings at the Asian Games.

With Saturday’s victories, the nation’s overall jiu-jitsu medal count at the Asian Games now stands at an impressive 10 medals, including four gold, three silver, and three bronze. In 2018, the UAE won a total of nine medals, including two gold, five silver, and two bronze.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, second deputy ruler of Dubai and president of the UAE National Olympic Committee, congratulated the national team, sponsored by Mubadala Investment Co., for their historic achievement.

He also commended the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s efforts in promoting the sport and creating champions who represent the nation in the best way in all sporting events.

Abdel Moneim Al-Hashemi, chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, president of the Asian Jiu-Jitsu Union and senior vice president of the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation, also congratulated the UAE delegation on their great achievement, as he extended thanks to the leadership for their constant support for the sport in the country.

“I want to appreciate the champions and their families because they made many sacrifices to reach this achievement, and we must know that four gold medals out of 10 other medals did not come from nowhere but are the result of great support from the wise leadership and limitless sacrifices from coaches and players over many years, in camps, tournaments, and training,” he said.

He also expressed his gratitude to the National Olympic Committee. “Jiu-jitsu provides a successful model and a distinctive experience for UAE sports, as it trusted the sons and daughters of the country, gave them opportunities and support, and is now reaping the fruits,” Al-Hashemi added.

In the Men’s -85Kg Final, Al-Ketbi demonstrated his prowess by defeating the Republic of Korea’s Heeseung Kim by an advantage. This victory marked his second gold at the Asian Games, with his first gold achieved in Jakarta in 2018. In the same weight division, the UAE’s Al-Kubaisi secured a bronze medal by defeating Sagdeev Ruslan of Kyrgyzstan in his final match of the day, further bolstering the UAE’s impressive performance.

Al-Ketbi dedicated the medal to the leadership of the UAE. “The country that flew into space and reached the top in many fields deserves to be at the forefront in sports. I am confident that my teammates in the national team, from the new generations, are capable of continuing their achievements in all categories, boys and girls,” he said.

In the Women’s -63Kg Final, Al-Kalbani secured a points victory over Kira Sung of the Republic of Korea in the final.

Al-Kalbani is a rising star in the world of competitive jiu-jitsu. Her remarkable journey reached its pinnacle at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, where she contributed to the UAE Jiu-Jitsu National Team’s historic achievement of securing half of the total jiu-jitsu medals awarded at the event, including 4 gold, 3 silver, and 3 bronze medals. As expected, Al Kalbani stood out as a true ‘golden girl’, having won gold at every major international event she participated in this year.

“I was ready to compete for gold in that tournament as of last year, as it was scheduled to be held in 2022, but postponing it for a year gave me a greater opportunity to prepare perfectly, and the federation spared no effort in providing us with full support from camps and internal and external tournaments that brought us to the top of the technical, physical, and mental levels before entering the tournament atmosphere,” said Al-Kalbani.

Al-Kalbani’s remarkable year of gold medals began with her triumph in March at the 7th Asian Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Bangkok, where she successfully defended her gold medal in the 63 kg class, defeating Indonesia’s Ilma Yeni Megawati. She continued her winning streak by clinching the gold at the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship (Adults) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in July, followed by gold in the Under-21 division of the competition held in Astana, Kazakhstan, in August.

Reflecting on her remarkable journey, she said she can’t believe it is all real. “I am living a dream,” she said. “All the efforts, dedication, training, everything is bringing in the desired results. I have a long way to go.”

She acknowledged that the championships were not an easy ride, especially the Asian Games final. “When the last minute of the competition began, I was still trailing. It was in the last 30 seconds that I swept my opponent and mounted her, earning six points. I didn’t realize at the time that I had won. When the referee lifted my hand, I was in shock and didn’t even celebrate,” she said.

“Preparation is the key to winning. Our preparation for the Asian Games was perfect, thanks to the support of our Federation. The UAEJJF left no stone unturned to get us into the right shape through internal and external camps and competitions, ensuring we were both mentally and physically prepared before the Asian Games,” she added.

Despite all her wins, Al-Kalbani is not willing to rest. “I will now start preparing for the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. I am always striving to improve myself and win more medals, raising the nation’s flag higher at every possible event.”

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