It was another day to remember for the UAE as promising Emiratis took home 136 medals in the boys’ category at the World Jiu-Jitsu Children’s Cup yesterday.
Following the impressive 130-medal haul by Emirati girls on Monday, the boys rose to the occasion by winning 36 gold, 37 silver and 63 bronze at Abu Dhabi’s IPIC Arena.
Over 900 competitors aged between 10-15 took to the mat on a day where 54 weight divisions were contested. Among the triumphant Emiratis was 13-year-old Khalifa Ahmed.
He defeated Dubai-based Briton Brandon Tutton to win gold in the 50.5kg yellow junior division.
— فعاليات أبوظبي (@AbuDhabiEvents) April 21, 2015
Ahmed said: “It feels great to win this medal. I really had to overcome some stiff challenges because the competition was tough. Each fighter I faced had their own different strengths and it wasn’t easy at all.
“I’m just really happy because this is the first gold for me and to do it in Abu Dhabi in a world competition feels really special,” added the Al Ghazali fighter, who has practiced jiu-jitsu for three years.
Khaled Al Otaibi (34.5kg), Abdulrahman Mohammed (34.5kg junior) and Saif Khaled ( junior 38.5kg) delivered impressive performances in the grey belt division.
In the yellow junior 46.5kg division, UAE’s Hazaa Mohamed Aljneibi did enough to hold off Azerbaijan’s Alay Yaradanguliyev to come out on top.
And there was success for non-Emiratis as Brazil’s Raphael Ferreira Verdam added more silverware to his trophy cabinet. The 11-year-old, who practices at the famous Vasco Da Gama club, topped his division (yellow infant 34.5kg) for his second straight world triumph.
“This is one I will always remember and one I will cherish,” said the Brazilian. “I won gold last year but winning it again is really special because it was a lot tougher than last year.”
— UAEJJF (@uaejjf) April 21, 2015
Verdam, practicing Jiu-Jitsu since the age of four, has dominated with seven gold in the Brazilian junior competitions, but feels the Abu Dhabi event has proved to be his most challenging so far.
He said: “It’s a hard tournament as the world’s best are competing. The Emiratis are definitely becoming stronger and tougher which is good for the game because it widens the horizon of the sport.”
For compatriot Gabriel Consendey, the 13-year-old defeated his good friend Sultan Khamis for gold in the grey junior 62.5kg class. It was the first world gold for the Bani Yas resident who did enough to impress the judges to score a points victory.
“It just feels really cool because I’ve only been doing jiu-jitsu since September,” said Consendey. “It was a difficult final because I know Sultan well and we both fought very well and neither of us deserved to lose.”
He added: “Now I can only work harder and hopefully achieve more gold in the future.”