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UAE’s ‘Golden Team’ win record 8 gold at Asian Jiu-Jitsu champs

The UAE national team dominated at the Jiu-Jitsu Asian Championship in Bahrain. (UAEJJF)
The UAE national team dominated at the Jiu-Jitsu Asian Championship in Bahrain. (UAEJJF)
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31 Mar 2022 05:03:31 GMT9
31 Mar 2022 05:03:31 GMT9
  • Mohammed Al-Suwaidi named Player of the Tournament in 69kg category
  • September’s Asian Games in China now the target for remarkable martial arts squad
Arab News 

MANAMA: The UAE national team have retained their continental title after a dramatic final day at the Jiu-Jitsu Asian Championships in Bahrain, a fitting preparation for September’s Asian Games in China.

More than 400 athletes from 24 nations grappled for gold as the UAE added six more medals to their opening day tally. The nation finished with 16 at the two-day event, and became the first country in the championship’s history to take home more than 50 percent of gold medals on offer.

Leading the medal table heading into the final day on Tuesday, the UAE maintained position, finishing with eight gold medals from a potential 14. Mohammed Salem Al-Dhaheri, vice-chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, received the shield for Best Team in front of a jubilant Emirati delegation. Jordan came second with two golds, two silvers, and a bronze medal, while Vietnam took third with two golds and a bronze medal.

It was another strong showing for the UAE’s impressive squad, securing a further three gold medals in the finals through Khaled Al-Shehhi (62 kilograms), Shama Al-Kalbani (63 kilograms), and Mohamed Al-Amri (77 kilograms). Hamda Alshkeili (45 kilograms) claimed silver while Maitha Shreim (52 kilograms) and Omar Al-Fadhli (62 kilograms) both took bronze.

Mohammed Ali Al-Suwaidi was awarded Player of the Tournament at what was the sixth annual Asian championship. The Emirati had turned in an outstanding performance in the men’s under-69 kilogram weight division to add to his country’s list of accomplishments.

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, congratulated the delegation on their achievements.

“The athletes did a fantastic job” he said. “This incredible achievement was made possible through extensive preparations. The Asian Games will be held in China in September and represents one of the most difficult challenges for these athletes this season. Our ‘Golden Team’ must now do everything to maintain their massive lead and solidly defend the title they won at the last Games in Jakarta.”

Al-Kalbani, the Emirati women’s champion, caught the eye on the second day as she fought to win all her bouts in less than a minute. “I prepared well for the tournament and followed coach Polyana Lago’s directions,” she said, adding that she already has one eye on the Asian Games. “I am extremely happy with the accomplishment, but the work does not stop here.”

Al-Shehhi said: “I am absolutely delighted to win the gold. I see this as a springboard for future championships this year, and having now tasted this success will go to even greater lengths to prepare for the next tournaments, especially the Asian Games.”

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