Abu Dhabi: Faisal Al Ketbi, UAE’s Asian Games jiu-jitsu gold medallist, said he is not ‘finished yet’ and fans will be seeing more of him in the coming years.
“I would say Faisal Al Ketbi had closed one page in his sporting career with that Asian Games gold and has opened another one,” said the beaming 30-year-old on the sidelines of the President’s Cup Jiu-Jitsu tournament.
The Emirati, who emerged victorious in the men’s 94-kilogram final over Jordan’s Sami Zaid in Jakarta last month, said that his life hasn’t changed drastically since his accomplishment but has increased his appetite to win more laurels.
“I wouldn’t say there is a big change in my life but it has motivated me to work harder and I’m hungrier for more success,” said Al Ketbi, who also accepted that at 30 he will have to double his efforts to be in the best of shape.
“My life as an athlete is going to be harder and I know that. I would like to keep the level. I want to remain as the top athlete in Asia. I’m aware that it is easier to reach the top but to stay there is difficult,” said Al Ketbi, who was confident of being in the best shape to take a shot at defending his title in China in four years’ time.
“Four years is not a long time. I remember it was like yesterday we were talking about Jakarta and we were there and it is over. So I feel these four years will fly. We all have to remember that we have a responsibility to keep our flag flying high. So I have already set my sight on that,” added Al Ketbi, who is also well aware that the task will be cut out for him and UAE team with other countries fast catching up.
“Yes, other teams will be catching up and players from other disciplines are moving to jiu-jitsu. We have to be watchful and have to keep improving our skills. Thankfully, we have the best coaches to help us. So we have to practice more, there is no substitute for hard work,” said Al Ketbi.
“We have to be realistic here with what we can achieve with our small population. We have still managed our best achievement in the history of the sport. We cannot challenge China but challenging ourselves with the resources we have is also more than enough. So, if we keep doing that we will have more medals,” asserted Al Ketbi, who will be leading UAE’s challenge in the World Championship in Sweden come November.
“My immediate priority is World Championship and thereafter, I will be focusing on the World Pro and the Grand Slam. I was trying to focus on the World Pro but I have missed two and there is a possibility that I will miss one more. That’s the way it is because I’m competing in other events as well. I’m trying to get some points by competing in the World Pro,” said Al Ketbi.
Meanwhile, Mahra Al Hanai, silver medallist at the Asian Games, along with her national teammates Wadima Al Yafei, Bashayer Al Matroushi and Hessa Al Shamsi won gold at the Mother of Nation Round-1 on Friday.