The UAE National Jiu-Jitsu Team clinched 15 more medals in the girls’ Under-16 and Under-18 divisions on Wednesday, taking the overall medal tally to 23. Image Credit: Supplied

Astana: The UAE National Jiu-Jitsu Team continued to shine at the JJIF World Championship YOUTH 2023 in Astana, Kazakhstan, clinching 15 more medals in the girls’ Under-16 and Under-18 divisions on Wednesday, taking the overall medal tally to an impressive 23. Zamzam Alhammadi, Rauda Alshamsi, and Alanood Alharbi grabbed gold in the Under-18 division for the defending champions.

The Under-16 team had a remarkable debut in the championship, securing six medals, including one silver and five bronze. Haira Aldaheri (36kg) won silver in her category, while Fatema Alkatheeri (44kg), Ghala Alhammadi (44kg), Najla Hashem (48kg), Hneen Alkhoori (57kg), and Aysha Aljneibi (63kg) claimed bronze.

The performance of the Under-18 girls was equally strong; they made history again by achieving nine medals, consisting of three golds, two silvers, and four bronzes. The gold medals were won by Rauda Alshamsi (40kg), who finished her fight with a submission, Alanood Alharbi (44kg), and Zamzam Al Hammadi (52kg). Al Hammadi, earlier this month, had captured gold at IMMAF Youth World Championships in Abu Dhabi.

Elsewhere, Mariam Alali (48kg) and Hissa Alyasi (44 kg) captured silver for Under-18, while Dana Albraiki (40kg), Shamsa Ibrahim Alameri (48kg), Maitha Almezaini (52kg), and Meera Aljarjawi (+70kg) took home bronze.

Mohamed Salem Al Dhaheri, Deputy Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and Head of the National Team’s delegation to Kazakhstan, said, “The performance of the girls under 18 and under 16 today was amazing. They won an impressive 15 medals. This shows how much our athletes have improved and it’s something the whole world can see. The UAE has come a long way in the sport of jiu-jitsu.

“The reason our UAE girls rocked the JJIF World Championship YOUTH is because of the well-thought-out strategy and plan by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation. Our visionary leaders as well as the Federation officials spare no chance in supporting our athletes, especially the girls, so they can showcase their skills globally, just like they did today.”

“The girls who received medals also prove that the Federation’s plan to find young talent and help them grow is working great. They start learning early, which helps them become jiu-jitsu professionals. This makes me sure that jiu-jitsu’s future in the UAE is in safe hands. I can’t wait to see them perform even better on bigger stages around the world,” he added.

UAEJJF honoured

The Uzbekistan Jiu-Jitsu Federation presented an honorary shield to the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, which was received by Al Dhaheri, in recognition of the significant role of the UAE and the capital, Abu Dhabi, in promoting jiu-jitsu, expanding its reach, and contributing to its continuous development in the region and the world.

Ramon Lemos, Head Coach of the UAE National Team, said, “I am truly proud of the team; they have exceeded our expectations and performed incredibly well. Even before the championship began, I was very confident that the team would excel. I have witnessed firsthand how hard they have worked, and their unwavering dedication was truly exceptional. So, it was only natural for them to shine. Their victory is a testament to their commitment and the collective effort they have put in. It’s heartening to see their efforts culminate in this success.”

Rauda Alshamsi, who won gold in the 40kg category, said, “I still can’t believe that I am a world champion now. This medal is like a dream come true for me. I practiced really hard and had lots of help from the Federation, my coaches, and my family. It’s not just for me – it’s for all of us who believed and worked together. I’m glad I could perform well today. Here’s to many more such medals in the future.”

Alanood Alharbi, who secured gold in the 44kg category, said, “This victory feels amazing. Standing on the podium and listening to the UAE national anthem being played in the background, nothing makes me prouder than this. Wow, this medal is more than just metal. It shows how we did it together. My coaches and teammates put their trust in me, and here we are.”

Zamzam Alhammadi, the world champion in the 52kg category, said, “I’m really, really happy. This medal reminds me of all the practice and teamwork that got me here. My coaches and supporters are awesome. This is just the beginning of more exciting things, I think. I have a long way to go, and there are international events in the pipeline. There’s no resting. I am now more motivated to train hard, push beyond boundaries, and make the UAE proud.”

Tomorrow, the competitions for boys under 18 will take place. The team lineup includes: Majed Al Blooshi (46kg), Mansour Al Bloushi (46kg), Ammar Al Hammadi (50kg), Ghaith Al Harbi (50kg), Abdulrahman Al Marzouqi (55kg), Abdulrahman Mohammed (55kg), Rashed Al Dhaheri (60kg), Mohammed Al Sada (60kg), Mohammed Al Awlaqi (66kg), Ahmed Endiz (66kg), Saif Al Ameri (73kg), Faisal Al Wahdi (73kg), Hazaa Al Hassani (81kg), Ali Al Tunaiji (81kg), Abdulla Ahmed Al Darmaki (81+kg), and Majed Al Shamesi (81+kg).