Balqees Alhashmi led a strong show by UAE women in Thailand, clinching the gold medal in the -54 kg division. Image Credit: Supplied

Bangkok: The UAE Jiu-Jitsu National Team delivered an impressive performance at the Grand Prix Thailand Open 2024 over the weekend, securing 15 medals, including five gold, three silver, and seven bronze. The event, held in Bangkok, was part of the preparation for the team ahead of major international events, particularly the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship in Greece in November.

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The UAE women’s team showcased a strong performance, continuing their impressive showing from the Jiu-Jitsu Asian Championship in Abu Dhabi in May.

Standing out on the openind day was Balqees Alhashmi, who clinched the gold medal in the -54 kg division. Aysha Alshamsi (-45 kg) earned a silver medal, while Asma Alhosani (-52 kg), Shamma Alkalbani (-63 kg), and Maitha Shraim (-48 kg) secured bronze medals for UAE.

Thrilling performance

Balqees Alhashmi said: “I’m proud to have reached the podium. Our hard work and intense preparations have paid off. We’ll keep training with the same determination for the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship in Greece to maintain our title for the fifth year in a row and also for other international events.”

The men, who took the mats on the second day, were equally successful, capturing ten medals. Khalid Alblooshi (-62 kg), Mahdi Alawlaqi (-77kg), Saeed Alkubaisi (-85 kg) and Omar Alsuwaidi (-56 kg) secured gold, while Mayed Alshehhi (-62 kg) and Rashed Alshehhi (-56 kg) won silver, while Hazza Farhan (+94 kg), Saeed Alketbi (-56 kg), Sultan Alhosani (-77 kg), and Mohamed Alsuwaidi (-69 kg) took bronze.

“We are thrilled with our performance today and proud to win a good number of medals despite the tough competition. We look forward to keeping up this strong performance, using this experience to continue our physical and mental development,” Khalid Alblooshi added.

Omar Alsuwaidi bagged the gold in the -56 kg in the Grand Prix Thailand Open 2024. Image Credit: Supplied

Mohamed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice-Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF), noted that participating in the Grand Prix Thailand Open 2024 achieved the intended results in terms of performance and assessing the team’s readiness for major events ahead.

Intense competition

“This year’s Grand Prix Thailand Open featured intense competition with many international stars, raising the championship’s overall level. Our national team’s performance was commendable, with athletes reaching the podium in multiple weight categories. This success reflects the hard work and tireless efforts of our technical staff in developing the competitors’ skills and the complete commitment of our athletes to perform their best on the mat.

“Competing against the world’s top athletes significantly enhanced our team’s experience, providing valuable insights that will enrich their preparations for upcoming championships. It also highlighted areas for improvement, ensuring that the team emerges stronger and more determined to win future titles.”

The first round of the Khaled bin Mohamed Bin Zayed Jiu-Jitsu Championship will be held at Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City from June 28-30. The three-day event marks the beginning of the five-round championship, which will include competitions across Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, and Fujairah throughout 2024, featuring kids, youth, adults, and masters categories. Three rounds will be for the Gi category, while two rounds will be for the no-Gi category.

uae jiu jitsu
The UAE men claimed a total of 10 medals, including four gold, in Bangkok. Image Credit: Supplied

3,000 athletes to take part

With registration closed for the first round, an unprecedented 3,000 athletes aged 4–30 from various clubs and academies are set to compete in different belt and weight categories. Athletes will vie for medals and cash prizes totaling over Dh1.5 million, culminating in the championship title in the final round in December. A comprehensive ranking system is in place to recognise athletes and clubs based on their performance in all rounds of the championship.

Friday, the first day of the event, will feature competitions for men and women in U18, adults, and masters categories. The second day will focus on kids’ categories, as well as girls in U12, U14, and U16 categories. The first-round competitions will conclude on Sunday, the third day, with boys in U12, U14, and U16-category competitions.

“The launch of the Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Jiu-Jitsu Championship represents a significant step in cementing the UAE’s leadership in promoting and developing the jiu-jitsu sport,” said Al Dhaheri added. “The championship highlights promising talents and provides a unique platform for all athletes to showcase and refine their skills.

“The Khaled Bin Mohamed Bin Zayed Jiu-Jitsu Championship, reflects the UAE leadership’s limitless support for jiu-jitsu, providing all necessary elements for athletes to achieve excellence locally, regionally, and internationally. It also marks a new chapter of the Federation’s cooperation with partners and sponsors, contributing strongly to the continued advancement of jiu-jitsu, expanding the base of practitioners in Emirati society, and instilling the noble values the sport is known for among emerging generations.”