Local - UAE jiu jitsu
Members of UAE jiu jitsu team, who rode a series of strong performances to qualify for the World Games, at a practice session. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Abu Dhabi: The UAE national jiu-jitsu team, which went through the official weigh-ins, are upbeat about their chances at the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Emirati stars are in buoyant mood after enjoying a medal-winning streak for the last few months. The fantastic five of Faisal Al Ketbi (85kg), Muhammad Al Amri (77kg), Muhammad Al Suwaidi (69kg), Shamma Al Kalbani (63kg) and Balqees Abdelkareem (48 kg) believe they can repeat their recent success, which earned them spots in Alabama in the first place.

“The team prepared well during a month-long camp held in Los Angeles,” said Al Ketbi, captain of the national team. “The players’ focus and determination are at the highest levels, which will inspire them to replicate last year’s continental and international successes and strengthen the UAE’s position globally.”

Al Ketbi came in under the radar at the 2017 Games to claim gold with a series of strong technical performances. “It is different this time from the previous edition that I participated in Poland in 2017 because there are five players representing the UAE, all of whom are champions on both the continental and international levels, and all of whom came to Birmingham with the intention of winning gold and standing atop podiums.”

He added that over the past five years, jiu-jitsu has undergone a significant qualitative leap in the Emirates courtesy of the limitless support from the UAE’s visionary leadership and UAE Jiu Jitsu Federation’s (UAEJJF) efforts and strategic plan to grow the sport.

“We are fully aware that the competitions won’t be easy due to the presence of strong players from different continents, but we trust ourselves enough to have studied with the national team’s technical staff the strategies of potential opponents. We are prepared to handle all contingencies and we hope that we will be successful on the mat.”

Under the direction of coaches Ramon Lemos and Polyana Lago, the squad held a practice on Wednesday. The session was attended by Tariq Al Bahri, director of the support services department, and Mubarak Al Menhali, director of the technical department, UAEJJF and head of the UAE delegation to the US.