03 August, 2023

The UAE National team continued their stellar performances on the second day of the IMMAF Youth World Championships, adding seven more medals, taking its overall tally to 11. As the Youth B category athletes, aged 14 – 15 years, took the octagon today, Ghala Al Hammadi secured the first gold for the hosts in the Women/Youth B/40 Kg division. In her last match of the day, she defeated Uzbekistan’s Marva rid Kamilova in a record 13 seconds by an armbar submission. The UAE finished second on Thursday.

She was soon joined on the podium by her sister, Zamzam Al Hammadi, who added a second gold for the UAE hosts, defeating Ukraine’s Kira Voliashchenko in a thrilling final in the 52 KG division.
Meanwhile, Saeed Alnuaimi (57 kg) and Salem Alhamoud (77.1 KG) won silver respectively.
Additionally, Omar Al-Raeesi (57 kg), Hamdan Al-Najjar (48 kg), and Saif Al-Hammadi (48 kg) added bronze medals to the UAE’s collection.

With only halfway through the championships, the UAE team has outperformed its last year’s results of four medals and is well positioned to improve the overall standing by a good margin.

The event is 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.
Organised by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation and hosted by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Federation, the championship is set to run until August 5.

Fahad Al Shamsi, Secretary General of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Federation said he was “thrilled beyond words” to see the level of interest and participation.“It underscores not only the growing popularity of MMA in the UAE, but also on the international level.It’s a festive atmosphere out there, and the crowd is very encouraging.

Al Shamsi also praised the national team’s wonderful performance and congratulated the champion sisters, Ghala Al Hammadi and Zamzam, on their remarkable achievement of winning gold medals.He mentioned that the UAE has outperformed last year’s results in the first two days of the championship, showing great progress for the team.

“The Championship provides a platform for global MMA talents to gather and supports the development of future MMA athletes, enabling them to showcase their skills and prepare for professional careers in the sport. The UAE team is performing incredibly well, and they have been preparing well. The results are not surprising, given their commitment and training and we are really proud of them.”

UAE Success Continues
Ghala Al Hammadi secured the UAE’s first medal of the day,taking gold in the 40kg division while
her sister Zamzam Al Hammadi got gold in 52 kg division.

“I prepared for the championship by training four hours per day, morning and evening, with two hours for MMA and the same for jiu-jitsu, and sometimes cardio exercises such as running to maintain weight and make this honourable appearance in the MMA Youth World Championships,” she said.“I dedicate the victory and my achievement today to the UAE leadership, to my family, and to everyone who stood with me during the preparations.”

Meanwhile, Zamzam Al Hammadi expressed her immense pride in the victory and dedicated it to the UAE leadership and people. She said, “The Emirati women are characterized by strength and a strong desire to achieve success in all fields. Our wise leadership supports us in every way, which further boosts our motivation to strive for more. I want to dedicate this achievement to everyone who stood by me throughout this journey.”

Global MMA Community Praise Abu Dhabi

As the IMMAF Youth World Championships entered its second day, the global MMA community–from athletes to coaches and representatives of international delegations, event organisers to family members–praised
Abu Dhabi for its successful hosting of the championships for a second successive year.With five MMA octagons set up inside the Mubadala Arena to accommodate fights involving over 600 registered participants, flags from more than 45 countries left no visitor
in doubt about the global prestige of the annual event. Additionally, the high technical level of
the championship and participants was evident.

Owen Roddy, the long-time strike coach of UFC superstar Conor McGregor, is a key part of an 11-strong coaching team that has travelled to the UAE capital to assist 36 young fighters representing Team Ireland.

“The Irish team is doing amazing–it’s a phenomenal show here and what an experience for our young lads,” said Roddy, who was in McGregor’s corner in Abu Dhabi during UFC 257: POIRIER MCGREGOR 2 in 2021. “It’s an amazing country; beautiful hospitality, beautiful people,and culture. It’s my first time experiencing the MMA Youth World Championships as a coach and I can see it’s an unbelievable competition–so many athletes coming over and representing their country. Were still in the mix, so its exciting times and
we hope to take a few more golds to climb those rankings.”

Sky-High ambitions

Khaled Afara, the coach of the Lebanese MMA team, praised the organisers of the Championships in
Abu Dhabi, noting that everything has been prepared in an easy way, making it a smooth task for participants and their accompanying delegations.

“It is this amazing level of organisation that ensures the event’s success,” said Afara, who has
brought 20 athletes to Abu Dhabi to compete across three categories. “The tournament gets better every year, and I can see significant increase in the levels of participation from different countries around the world. One remarkable aspect is the precise timing of the competitions. Each team knows the schedule of their games in advance, and there have been no delays.”