Abu Dhabi: UAE’s rising star Shamma Al Kalbani has been living a dream. Her meteoric rise in jiu-jitsu has been so impressive that she has ended up winning gold in every major event she participated this year.
But her remarkable journey reached its pinnacle at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, where she contributed to the UAE Jiu-Jitsu national team’s historic achievement of securing half of the total jiu-jitsu medals awarded at the event, including four gold, three silver, and three bronze medals.
Al Kalbani’s remarkable year of gold medals began with her triumph in March at the 7th Asian Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Bangkok, where she successfully defended her gold medal in the 63kg class, defeating Indonesia’s Ilma Yeni Megawati. She continued her winning streak by clinching the gold at the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship (Adults) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in July, followed by gold in the Under-21 division of the competition held in Astana, Kazakhstan, in August.
Last year, Al Kalbani made history by becoming the first Emirati female athlete to secure a medal at the World Games, winning two bronze medals in the 63-kilogram and open-weight categories.
Reflecting on her amazing journey, Al Kalbani said: “I am living a dream. All the efforts, dedication, training, everything is bringing in the desired results. I have a long way to go.”
She acknowledged that the championships were not an easy ride, especially the Asian Games final. “When the last minute of the competition began, I was still trailing. It was in the last 30 seconds that I swept my opponent and mounted her, earning six points. I didn’t realise at the time that I had won. When the referee lifted my hand, I was in shock and didn’t even celebrate,” she said.
Shamma’s road to victory is marked by dedication and hard work. Her training regimen and commitment to excellence are the secrets to her consistent success. “Preparation is the key to winning. Our preparation for the Asian Games was perfect, thanks to the support of our Federation. The UAEJJF left no stone unturned to get us into the right shape through internal and external camps and competitions, ensuring we were both mentally and physically prepared before the Asian Games,” she added.
Her journey in the world of jiu-jitsu is an inspiring story of talent, dedication, and the unwavering support of her nation and the programmes that cultivate extraordinary talents in the UAE.
As Shamma continues to aim for new horizons and further success on the international stage, her future in the world of jiu-jitsu looks incredibly promising. “I will now start preparing for the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, to be held in Abu Dhabi later this year. I am always striving to improve myself and win more medals, raising the nation’s flag higher at every possible event.”