Abu Dhabi: Zayed Al Kathiri of the United Arab Emirates made history on Saturday by becoming the country’s first-ever black belt holder to win a gold medal at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. The Baniyas Club and national team star won gold on the final day of competition at Zayed Sports City’s Jiu-Jitsu Arena by defeating Brazilian Nathannael Fernandes, who was competing for the United Arab Emirates Commando Group, in a match that stoked the passion of the spectators.
Saturday saw 12 fights for the professional division in various weight classes, with men with black belts and women with brown/black belts on the mats.
Group Commando emerged victorious in the professional division, with Brazil’s Gfteam second and UAE’s ADMA third. The UAE champions excelled in the professional category competitions over the course of three days, winning nine medals, including one gold, seven silver and one bronze.
The competitions were attended by Abdul Moniem Al Hashemi, President of the United Arab Emirates Jiu-Jitsu Federation, President of the Asian Ju-Jitsu Union and Senior Vice President of the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation, Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice President of the United Arab Emirates Jiu-Jitsu Federation. Jitsu Federation, Fabricio Satiro Oliveira, Mayor of the city of Balneário Camboriú in Brazil, Mansour Al Ketbi, Executive Director of Digital and Corporate Services of Mubadala Investment Company, and Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, Secretary General of UAEJJF.
Abdel Moneim Al Hashemi presented the medals to the winners and underlined that the UAE’s visionary leaders’ unwavering support for jiu-jitsu was the real driving force behind the championship’s success.
“Abu Dhabi has proven once again that it is a global hub for jiu-jitsu, it is capable of hosting events of the highest caliber and raising the bar to host major sporting events. It is the favorite destination for legends around the world to fulfill their dreams and ambitions,” he said.
“The performance of the Emirati champions today was spectacular and they showcased their greatest achievements to the world. Now we can proudly say that the country’s athletes have won every title available in this sport at national levels. and international,” he added.
Following his historic feat, Zayed Al Ketheiri said he dedicated his medal to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and expressed his gratitude to the visionary leaders for their boundless support for sports and athletes from the country.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the UAEJJF, my coaches and everyone who has supported me throughout my journey. I greatly appreciate everyone’s support,” he said.
“I am delighted with this achievement. It was a difficult fight because competitions in the black belt category are different from others because the participants are very strong and experienced. I approached my fight today with optimism and careful analysis of my opponents’ styles, I was able to pull it off,” he said.
In the final, Meyran Alves of Brazil from ADMA academy (UAE) won gold in the 62 kg division, leaving Omar Alfadhli of Al Jazira Jiu-Jitsu Club of the UAE in second place.
“Today’s fight was good, and I want to congratulate Alves for his outstanding performance. Even though I didn’t win the gold medal today, it was still a positive experience that made me happy. will help to do better in future trials,” Alfadhli said.
Brazilian athletes including Raimundo Sodre of Clube Feijao Club (69 kg), Lucas Protasio of Commando Group (77 kg), Fellipe Silva of ADMA (85 kg), Catriel Fernandes Rodrigues of Gfteam (94 kg) and Yatan Bueno of the ADMA (120 kg) also won gold. in the men’s black belt category.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s Brenda Larissa (Groupe Commando) won gold in the 49kg category of the women’s brown/black belt competition. She was joined on the podium by Ana Rodrigues (ADMA) in the 55 kg category, Julia Alves from Gfteam (62 kg), Brenda Larissa from Commando Group (49 kg) and Gabrieli Pessanha from Infight Brazil (95 kg) winning the ‘gold.
Larissa, who defeated Margarita Ochoa of the Philippines (ATOS) in the final, said: “I’m very happy with my performance and to have been able to win the title. I am grateful to all the organizers of the championship and to the United Arab Emirates, especially Abu Dhabi, which gives us the opportunity to compete at the highest level.
division 56 kg
Earlier, Mayed Alshehhi (purple belt) of the United Arab Emirates won silver in the 56kg division, giving the hosts a strong presence on the medal table.
“For any player hoping for a future professional jiu-jitsu career, winning a medal at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship was a huge milestone. you have to recognize that losing is a necessary part of the game. It’s a lesson for me to keep improving and winning more medals in the future,” said club champion Baniyas.
Omar Ali Alsuwaidi, also a Baniyas player, won silver in the same division.
“I made a double effort to overtake the opponent, and we were tied until the end of the match, and he won with a very small advantage. I’m sure the next championship will be bigger for me because I will prepare myself with the lessons I have learned this year,” he added.