20 July, 2023

The UAE national jiu-jitsu team, sponsored by Mubadala Investment Company, successfully defended its crown at the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship, held in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar. The athletes, affectionately called ‘Jiu-Jitsu falcons,’ secured an impressive 14 medals in total, including 8 gold, 4 silver, and 2 bronze medals, outperforming Sweden, which finished in a distant second place, and Thailand, which came in third.

The championship took place from 15 – 20 July, with over 40 countries participating. On the final day, the UAE national team members added 6 medals, including four gold and two silver. Building on the team’s brilliant performances on the first two days of the championship, Hamda Alshekeili (48 kg) gave a strong start to the team as the competitions began on Thursday. She was soon joined by Shamma Al Kalbani (63 kg), Theyab Al Nuaimi (56 kg), and Mahdi AlAwlaki (77 kg), all earning gold medals.

Meanwhile, Omar Al-Suwaidi (56 kg) and Faraj Al-Awlaki (77 kg) earned silver medals, further increasing the team’s overall medal tally.

His Excellency Abdel Moneim Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, President of the Asian Ju-Jitsu Union, and Senior Vice President of the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation, dedicated the team’s remarkable achievement to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai. Al Hashemi noted that the leaders’ unwavering support for sports and athletes, along with their dedication to investing in the sons and daughters of the UAE, was instrumental in the team’s every success.

Furthermore, he extended his heartfelt gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, for his keen involvement in overseeing the jiu-jitsu project in the country. Al Hashemi emphasised that His Highness’s presence at the team’s training sessions and continuous guidance were invaluable in ensuring the continuous pursuit of excellence.

Al-Hashemi congratulated the team for its outstanding performance, mentioning that it has further strengthened the UAE’s position at the top of the global sports graph. He praised the efforts of the technical and administrative staff during the recent training camp in Sweden, as it significantly contributed to the team’s performance in the competitions.

“The championship witnessed numerous achievements, especially the emergence of many talents who performed exceptionally well. It was also evident in the remarkable prowess of the Emirati girls, once again demonstrating that with adequate support and opportunities, they can excel and astonish in various fields, including sports. I admire and consider Balqees Abdullah, Shamma Al Kalbani, and Hamda Alshekeili as role models for all Emirati girls aspiring to challenge, excel, and prove themselves,” Al Hashemi added.

“The support of the wise leadership in the realm of jiu-jitsu and its practitioners forms the cornerstone of every success made by the UAE national team, be it at the continental or global level. This leadership stands as an inspiring role model for the sons and daughters of the country as they strive towards reaching the summit. I am confident that the champions of the national team are well aware that the future holds greater challenges, and it will require even more sacrifices,” Al Hashemi added.

All-Emirati Finals

The closing day of the World Championship witnessed two all-Emirati finals in the weight categories of 56 kg and 77 kg. In the first fight, the two champions, Theyab Al Nuaimi and Omar Al Suwaidi, faced off, while the second match brought together siblings Mahdi Al Awlaki and Faraj Al Awlaki, showcasing the UAE’s dominance in the global jiu-jitsu once again.

“We are proud of this great achievement. It was incredible to hear the UAE national anthem playing on multiple occasions today. We succeeded in building on the accomplishments of our colleagues in the past two days, adding to their work and then crowning the world championship title, retaining it for the fourth year straight,” said Al Nuaimi, who took the gold.

A Gift to the Homeland

In turn, Mahdi Al Awlaki, the world champion in the 77 kg weight category, said: “It makes no difference whether the winner in the final is me or my brother. The winner, first and foremost, is the homeland. Four Emirati athletes have qualified for two finals in the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. It is a clear evidence of the status that the UAE jiu-jitsu has reached, thanks to the unlimited support of our wise leadership and the UAEJJF.”

No Time to Rest

After the historic moment, Hamda Alshekeili, said she will now start getting ready for her next adventure. “I am filled with indescribable happiness to gift the UAE with this gold medal. It was a result of many sacrifices and serious preparations I made along with colleagues in the national team. We wanted to translate the support we have got into these results, and I am sure we could do that. After the joy, there is no time for rest because the opportunities are many, and the championships are consecutive in the second half of this year.”

Many Gains

Shamma Al Kalbani, winner of the 63 kg division, once again demonstrated her mettle and superiority in the global jiu-jitsu scene with another gold medal. “Our goals were clear right from the beginning. We entered the arena armed with the highest levels of determination and focus to retain the title. We came out with many gains from this tournament, and our ambition has no limits, as we are thirsty for more titles. This achievement will be a great motive for us to achieve more titles and maintain our global dominance,” she said.