Jakarta: With UAE jiu-jitsu’s blue-eyed boy Faizal Al Ketbi landing in the Indonesian capital along with his teammates, Team UAE have received a boost in their medal aspirations at the 18th Asian Games.
UAE were yet to open their account after first day’s action and all eyes are on the martial arts team to get the dice rolling in the sport that will me making its debut at the Asian sporting spectacle.
The team returned to Abu Dhabi two days back after a training stint in the US before heading for Jakarta ahead of their campaign, starting on August 24. “The private training in Santiago was extensive and it has increased our fitness and technique,” said Al Ketbi, who along with his teammates was training twice a day and six days a week.
“It was an extensive camp and along with top coach and renowned black belt jiu-jitsu fighter, our national team coach Ramon Lemos was always there with us making sure that we were always doing the best,” revealed Al Ketbi adding that the one-day break was about relaxing and recovering again for the next week of intensive training.
Al Ketbi, who will be competing in the 94kg category, went on to reveal that the Jiu-Jitsu Federation has left no stones unturned to ensure that the team was 100 per cent ready for the mega event.
“I wouldn’t say it was different than the preparations that we do for other tournaments as the federation has always given equal importance to all tournaments. Training for a month has always been the case when we head for a tournament. We also did closed-door training for two days at the Officers Club before heading here,” revealed Al Ketbi, adding that squad of 12 men and four women are at the peak.
“I would say everyone in the Jiu-Jitsu team is fit. The morale is high and they know the responsibilities that lay on their shoulders for an event of this scale. They are all sharp and raring to go,” asserted Al Ketbi. Asked about the pressure of expectations he carries on his shoulders for being the face of UAE Jiu-Jitsu, he said: “There is pressure on us undoubtedly but I would say the pressure is in a positive way and there is no negativity in it. We can take the pressure because as we know it is about presenting UAE in a better way. There is no honour bigger than representing the UAE.”
Al Ketbi, who had won a double at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in 2017, said that Asian Games will be a different preposition all together.
“It will be tougher than Ashgabat as more than 29 countries are competing in Jiu-Jitsu here in Jakarta. There is no open weight and there are six categories. I will be competing in just one category. You just cannot afford to make any mistakes,” said Al Ketbi.