The UAE Falcons have been putting in the hard yards – averaging three training sessions summing to five hours per day – as they go for gold at the fourth edition of the Asian Jiu-Jitsu Championship in the Mongolian capital city of Ulaanbaatar.
The Wrestling Palace welcomes over 350 contestants from 21 Asian countries for day one on July 17, and the 14 males and six females making up the UAE National team are leaving nothing to chance as they look to replicate or better the form that saw them bring home 14 medals at the Kazakhstan Jiu-Jitsu Grand Prix in June. With points also going towards qualification for the World Games to be held in the US in 2021, there is a lot on the line.
Six UAE male stars will be in action across four weight categories on day one. UAE hero Faisal Al Ketbi will take to the mat in the 85 kg category while Yahia Al Hammadi competes in the over 94kg class, with Mohamed Al Qubaisi and Mohammad Omari representing UAE in the 77kg class, and Mohamed Alsuwaidi and Abdulla Aljneibi battling in the 69kg class.
Al Ketbi said: “The UAE national team athletes are competing for the gold prize and nothing less. After achieving outstanding results in Kazakhstan, the team is seeking to continue our great form. Representing the UAE in this vital Asian championship, we are setting out to prove that our country is alongside the best in Asia and we have all requirements for success.
“Apart from winning the gold medal, we are also looking to gain the points we need to participate in the World Games in the United States. But winning the gold is the gift we would like to offer to everyone at home once we land back in the UAE. ”
The contest will be tough, with the cream of the crop from the Asian continent battling it out on the mat. But when weighing up the field, Al Ketbi said: “This is a sign of the success of Jiu-Jitsu – it highlights the astonishing growth of the game among the Asian continent and shows how well the union is doing in raising awareness and interest in the sport.
UAE team-mate Zayed Alkatheeri said: “Taking part in an event such as this is a real honour for any sportsman, and I hope to raise my technical level, learn and improve through this experience and contact with the different technical schools in the continent.”