Dubai: Karate in the UAE received a huge boost last week when Shaikha Maitha Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Honorary President of the UAE Taekwando and Karate Federation, was installed as an accredited coach by the World Karate Federation.
Meanwhile, Haya Sameer Juma struck gold at the WKF Youth World Cup Individual Kata and Kumite and Training Camp held in Loutraki, Greece.
The talented Haya beat Egypt's Reem Mohammad 6-1 in the final of the girls under-59kg under-18 age category to land her first gold medal at an international event of this stature.
"I want to dedicate this medal to the people of the UAE for their support and belief in my abilities," Haya said after winning the event in Loutraki, watched by Shaikha Maitha.
Haya was in an awesome form from the start of the competition as she defeated home favourite Kalima Gregio 5-2 in her first fight.
"I thought I was at a disadvantage against Kalima as she is from Greece and everyone in the stands was supporting her. But I kept my focus on the fight and it was my superior concentration that helped me," Haya said.
Encouraged by her fine form, Haya took her game to a higher level as she blanked Jordan's Saja Al Barghouti 9-0 to book her place in the final.
Antonio Espinos, who was recently elected for another six-year term as president of the WKF, presented the medal to Haya in the presence of Shaikha Maitha after the competition.
Meanwhile, Shaikha Maitha received her accreditation certificate for coaching on the sidelines of the event held in Greece.
The certification programme was divided into three levels, namely an accredited coach; a certified kumite coach or certified kata coach and a certified karate coach.
The panel included former top athlete Efthimos Karamitsos, a sixth dan grade from Greece, Con Kassis, an international kata coach based in Australia, Ewald Roth, a former 12-time national champion from Austria, Kostas Gouvousis who was with the Greek national team from 1987 to 1995 and Ioannis Kanellis, a black belt sixth dan and WKF referee and judge.