Omar Al Fadhli showed why he’s so highly rated by the UAE senior national team’s coaching staff with an outstanding display to claim gold in the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship.
Al Fadhli, who at 16 became the youngest member to represent his country last year, defeated compatriot Hamad Nawad in the Blue Juvenile 55kg division.
The manner of victory was even more special considering his final was watched by Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation during the official opening ceremony of the Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship (ADWPJJC).
“It was a very good fight and thank God I ended it in one choke from the back,” said Al Fadhli, 17.
“It was an amazing win and all my focus was on the fight. To win my first world gold was really special and it will be something I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Meanwhile, for the Al Hanaei family there was real reason to celebrate after sisters Mahra and Hana shone and Maha still to compete.
Mahra, 16, needed just 56 seconds to overcome fellow countrywoman Sharifa Mubarak for the 52kg female blue belt gold. She followed in the footsteps of younger sister Hana, who won on Sunday, while her eldest sister Maha will be aiming to complete a hat-trick in the adults division.
“I fought with Mubarak before and so I knew how she would compete,” said Mahra. “Hana and I managed to clinch gold and Inshallah, it will huge for our family and the UAE if Maha goes and wins gold in her category. We will be behind her all the way.”
Meanwhile, on the first day of the ADWPJJC, there was disappointment for Khalifa Al Nassrati, who had to settle for silver after being beaten by his “good friend” Gilgamesh Blanch for the second consecutive year.
The 18-year-old lost on advantage point by the Australian in the 56kg blue division but he had no complaints in defeat.
“The best man won,” said Nassrati, who has deformities with his fingers on his left hand. “I lost to my friend and he’s a good fighter and an awesome guy. I respect him a lot and it was a pleasure to have fought against him.”
For Blanch, it was strange to compete against someone he has known now for a long time.
“It’s difficult to fight someone who is your friend,” he said. “You want the best for them and all the challenges he’s gone through is incredible. We stay in touch on social media and whenever we meet in the future, we’ll continue to be close friends.”
In other results, Roosevelt Sousa ensured he had a triumphant return back to Brazil after claiming 110kg gold in the blue belt division.
“It’s absolutely incredible to win here on my first international competition,” he said. “I hope this will be the start of more.”
Luiz Medeiros and Rashid Kaitmazov of Russia won the blue 69 and 77kg categories respectively.