Shamma Al Kalbani defeated Bashayer Al Matrooshi in an all-UAE final in the 63kg weight to claim gold. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Shamma Al Kalbani’s passion for jiu-jitsu is awe-inspiring. Her hunger for success keeps increasing each time she achieves a milestone. Despite tasting success at many international events, Shamma’s desire to earn more laurels for the nation just doesn’t seem to fade. And that was quite evident when the 21-year-old hardly took time off to celebrate after winning her third successive gold at the recently concluded Jiu-Jitsu Asian Championship.

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She was back on the mat to train immediately the next day for another important chapter in her life as she began preparations for the fourth edition of Abu Dhabi Extreme Championship (ADXC) to be held in Paris on May 18.

It will be a proud moment for Shamma as she becomes the first Emirati female athlete to participate in the Championship, which will be held for the first time outside the UAE.

“I’m really looking forward to the championship,” Shamma said. “I’m delighted to be the first Emirati woman to participate in the ADXC.”

Intruging fights

The championship to be held at the Dojo de Paris, a gymnasium located in the heart of the French capital and just a few kilometres away from the Eiffel Tower, will feature 14 fights between jiu-jitsu and grappling bouts, all held in the famous ADXC cage and divided into three-minute rounds. The organisation has already promised a card packed with European powerhouses facing some of the best athletes from all over the world, all under one of the most dynamic rule-sets in the sport. Shamma will be facing Lina Grosset in a jiu-jitsu bout in the prelims card.

“I have never fought inside a cage so this will be a new experience for me. I’m really looking forward to this new challenge. In fact after winning the gold in the recent Asian Championship, I hardly wasted any time and went back to training the next day to prepare for this event. Hopefully I can put up a good show there,” Shamma added.

Shamma Al Kalbani had a remarkable outing at the at the Asian Games in China last year. Image Credit: GN Archives

Shamma’s success at the Asian Championship helped the UAE claim a fourth consecutive championship title. Shamma defeated Bashayer Al Matrooshi in an all-UAE final in the 63kg weight to claim the top spot.

“I feel honoured to represent my country and win medals. I want to keep winning medals for my country and I feel proud to see my nation’s flag fly high while standing on the podium,” she said.

Tough sport

“It’s a tough sport. We trained for hours before the championship. I really worked hard and our training sessions were very intense. I kept pushing myself until the day of the competition and I’m proud that my preparation paid off as I was able to achieve the gold,” she said when asked about the preparations for the Asian championship.

“We spend a lot of time in the mat. In the morning we did our physical training for around four hours and in the evening we used train two more hours of jiu-jitsu. Whenever we find more time we used to understand our mistakes and work on them,” she added.

Shamma who is pursuing her undergraduation in Emergency Management at the Rabdan University in Abu Dhabi, said she is also focused on getting her degree. “My goal is to get my university degree. It’s not easy and I had to stop multiple times due to the sport. But it was worth it since I won so many laurels and I’m happy for that. I now am really focused on studies as well and want to get my degree quickly.”

Being a role model for the young generation of female athletes in the country, she said she will be also happy to help her coach train the junior teams in the future. “I really hope that I can inspire the younger generation and all of the Arab women who want to pursue sports. I want to say to all the girls to follow their dreams and believe in themselves and I’m happy I have been able to inspire them. I hope they work towards their goals and achieve greater heights,” she noted.