04 August, 2023

The UAE National Team continued its winning streak at the ongoing IMMAF Youth World Championships, securing one more gold on Friday, bringing its overall medal count to 12,including 4 gold, 4 silver and 4 bronze. The competitions for the Youth A, 16-17 years old, took place at the Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City, where, in a thrilling match, Fahad Al Hammadi defeated Italy’s Damiano Grillo to secure the first place in the 70.3 KG division.

The championship, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council,is organized by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation and hosted by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Federation. The championship is set to continue until tomorrow, Saturday.

Mohammed Al Hosani, a member of the MMA Committee of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and MMA Federation, lauded the National Team for their exceptional performance and attributed it to the generous support and guidance of the wise leadership, as well as the tireless efforts of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Federation.

He said,“The evaluation and selection process for the UAE national team players spanned a full year between the 3rd and 4th editions of the IMMAF Youth World Championships. During this time, five MMA
local tournaments were organized, with one of the primary goals being evaluation and selection. Subsequently, a rigorous preparation and a preparatory training camp were conducted for a month prior to teh championship to enhance the players focus. We are delighted to see that the meticulous preparation, selection, and training process es have borne the desired results.”

Al Hosani also congratulated Fahad Al Hammadi for securing the gold medal.“The whole nationis proud of him. His remarkable achievement brings pride to us and serves as an inspiration to aspiring athletes in the country. Such successes showcase the talent and dedication of the athletes and highlight the promising future of MMA in the UAE, in the region, and beyond.”

Hard work paid off

Fahad Al Hammadi, the world champion in the 70.3 KG division, said,“I extend my gratitude to everyone who supported us, especially the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Federation. The journey towards this tournament victory involved extensive preparations to deliver our best performance, and thankfully, the hard work has paid off, and our team is achieving remarkable results. Thank you all for unwavering support and belief in us.”

Meanwhile, Alisiia Stoianovska, representing Ukraine, achieved a momentous victory, earning the gold medal in the 65.8 KG division. She expressed her immense joy and gratitude, acknowledging that this day is truly unforgettable in her life. She said,“ Becoming the world champion is a dream come true for me. The journey to this remarkable achievement was filled with hard work, dedication, and preparation. There is no resting now. I am ready to embrace the next challenges that come my way.”

‘Sports Unite’

Davron Juraev, President of Tajikistan MMA Federation, noted that the championship has been improving each year.“Tajikistan is participating here in Abu Dhabi for the second year, and we have around 30 athletes. The level of competition, organization, and the athletes this year are significantly different.Everyone has become much stronger, and I’m thrilled that we have more
countries participating than the previous year, making the competition even more robust and exciting,”he said.

“The championship overall is truly amazing. As the famous phrase goes,‘sports unite.’Indeed, itworks here because the atmosphere of the competition arena in Abu Dhabi is grandiose. We can see more than 45 countries participating, making it an international and huge event. It’s very pleasing to see the support from the sport authorities and the government of Abu Dhabi,”he added.

India Shines

Vikram Mysore Nagaraj, the coach of the Indian MMA team, said that his side has come a long
way from having no medals last year to winning three. “Given the standard of the IMMAF Youth
World Championships, just to land a piece of a medal here is incredibly amazing. We have two bronze and one silver medal so far, and we are trying to upgrade the numbers. We have come a long way from having no medals last year to winning three medals in the first two days. This is adirect indicator of where Team India is headed,”he added.

‘Unbelievable Crowd’

Helio Caio from Angola was present at the stands, cheering for his friend who was participating today.“It’s so amazing. I really like MMA, and I have attended lots of such events, but what I am seeing here is incredible. There is so much energy in the air, and the crowd is just unbelievable. I
really like Abu Dhabi. I am from Angola, I keep coming here, and one of the many things I like most about this place is how they promote the kind of sports I enjoy. Thank you, AbuDhabi, for hosting the IMMAF Youth World Championships,”he said.