Dubai: The UAE national jiu jitsu team, which finished with five medals in the 11th edition of the World Games in the US, landed in Dubai on July 18 to a warm welcome. The squad was greeted at the airport by a senior delegation, headed by Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade.
Faisal Al Ketbi, the UAE captain, won a gold in the 85 kg and open weight categories and Mohammed Al Suwaidi took home silver in the 69 kg division. Shamma Al Kalbani became the first Emirati female player to clinch a medal at the World Games, winning two bronze medals in the 63 kg and open weight categories to make for five medals.
“You set a role model for future generations that seek glory,” Al Zeyoudi said while congratulating the heroes on their remarkable achievements. “The secret behind the UAE jiu jitsu team’s success in winning world championships like this is having a great vision, long-term strategic planning, and limitless support from the leadership.”
Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice Chairman of the UAEJJF, was among the dignitaries at the airport to welcome the UAE delegation to the US. “The visionary leadership that believes in the outstanding qualities and capabilities of our players and their steadfast determination of not giving up is the reason behind every significant victory and strategic gain for our country’s sport,” he added.
A jubilant Al Ketbi said: “These are joyous moments that we will always cherish. I want to dedicate this success to the wise leadership for their ongoing support of sportsmen and sports as well as the UAEJJF and the chairman Abdel Moneim Al Hashemi.”
“The achievement in Birmingham was the result of our continuous work for five years, specifically after achieving the gold medal in Warsaw in 2017.”
Ramon Lemos, coach of the national jiu-jitsu team, said: “The victory at the World Games was a direct result of their meticulous training. The winning mentality of the players gave them an advantage on the mats.”
International Vision Investments (IVI) announced a monetary award of Dh50,000 for the gold medallist; Dh30,000 for the silver medallists and Dh20,000 for the bronze medallist will be given to the nation’s heroes.
Aref Al Awani, General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Deputy Chairman UAEJJF and several representatives of strategic partners and sponsors, including ADNOC, Ministry of Interior, SEHA, Emirates Red Crescent, Palms Sports, the General Authority of Sports and National Olympic Committee were also present to receive the champions.