Dubai: Despite making huge strides during the past few months, the UAE karate team can barely relax as they set out on a fresh journey.
"Our job is far from over. This success in the GCC competition is a testimony to the hard work and commitment put in by the team," the UAE's Iranian coach Mohammad Bahrami told Gulf News at the end of the 10th GCC Karate Championship late on Thursday.
The UAE finished second best to Kuwait with the women's team led by Shaikha Maitha Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum making a clean sweep in the women's competition.
The UAE's men's team picked up two gold medals as Hussain Juma and young Marwan Abdullah triumphed in the under-75 kgs and under 55 kgs) categories.
"The most satisfying thing for me besides these results is that I have discovered some new faces during the course of this competition," Bahrami said. "This is one of the signs that we are on the right course for the future," he added.
The UAE coach mentioned names like Abdullah Eissa, Marwan Abdullah, Khalid Abdullah, Yahya Yassir, Mohammad Jassim, Mohammad Khamis and Mohammad Abdul Majid.
"This is champion material for the future. We need such a core group to work with the future," Bahrami noted.
The UAE coach called on private clubs and institutions to assist the federation to give the sport a much-needed boost. "We cannot do anything with assistance from the clubs. They are responsible for finding and nuturing talent at the grassroots level," Bahrami said.
"Any plan needs time, but I am happy that we have a future that is assured," he added. The UAE squad will start training once again with a series of competitions lined up with the culmination at the Asian Games in Doha.
"We have international competitions in Italy, Tunisia, Iran and the World Championship in Finland," Bahrami said.
"But all our energies are directed towards a solid performance at the Asian Games in December," he added. The UAE will be sending two men for the Asian Games instead of the full quota of five men and two women.
"This sort of cuts down on our chances for a medal. But the UAE National Olympic Committee has decided to allow us only two men and we will have to do with this allocation," Bahrami said.