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Gold medallist Khaled Al Shehi and silver medallist Khalid Al Blooshi on the podium during the medal ceremony in Hangzhou, China, on Thursday. Image Credit: Supplied

Hangzhou: UAE’s impressive run at the Asian Games continued with the Jiu-Jitsu team winning four more medals on the first day of the jiu-jitsu competitions in Hangzhou, China on Thursday. The medal rush ensured UAE have 11 medals (2 gold, four silver and five bronze) in total.

While, UAE athlete Khaled Al Shehi gave a strong start to the team with a gold, Balqees Abdulla, Mohamed Al Suwaidi, and Khalid Al Blooshi took home silver at the Xiaoshan Linpu Gymnasium JJI,

The Men-62Kg division saw an all-Emirati final where Khaled Al Shehi and Khalid Al Blooshi faced off, with Al Shehi winning the gold. “After securing the gold at the Asian Championship this year, I made a promise that I would win the gold at the Asian Games. I am glad to have fulfilled my promise, and I will not cease training or rest until I achieve gold at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship next November.

Unforgettable moment

“It is truly an unforgettable moment in my life, filled with overwhelming joy. Tears welled up in my eyes because I had longed for this moment for a long time. I thank God that I have finally reached it. We must always cherish this moment, representing the flag of the country that has given us so much, placing it above all else,” he said.

Khalid Al Blooshi, the silver medallist in the 62kg weight category, also credited the UAEJJF for his performance. He said, “The programmes initiated by the federation for spreading and developing the sport and creating champions have led to the results we witnessed today. I am proud of today’s achievement, especially since in the final, I competed against my own teammate, Khaled Al Shehi. When it’s an all-Emirati final, the UAE is the biggest winner.”

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Balqees Abdulla won the silver medal in the 48kg final. Image Credit: Supplied

The fourth medal, a silver, was earned by Balqees Abdulla, who faced Filipino Margarita Ochoa in the 48kg final. She said, “I had hoped to win the gold, but it was a tough fight, and my opponent was a black belt holder with far more experience on the mat. Nevertheless, it was a valuable experience and has provided me with many lessons that I can carry forward and apply to my performance in upcoming tournaments.”

High expectations

Mohamed Salem Al Dhaheri, Deputy Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and Head of the Mission to China, dedicated the team’s achievement to the UAE’s wise leadership, the people of the Emirates, and all the partners and sponsors of the Federation.

He said: “The people of the UAE had high expectations for the team on the first day, and the team put in great effort, especially since the UAE participated with six athletes. The team performed exceptionally well, with four of them reaching the podium in this competitive tournament featuring participation from champions from all across the continent.”

Mubarak Al Menhali, Director of the Technical Department at the UAEJJF, expressed that the competitions were as strong as expected. He noted that having four athletes advance to the final matches in three different weight categories indicates that he anticipates the team’s medal count to increase in the next two days. “The team spared no effort in their preparation for this tournament.

"We always hold great expectations because we have immense confidence in our players. Regardless of the achievements we attain, we believe there is always room for improvement, and we maintain strong confidence in their ability to earn more medals in the upcoming days.”