UAE national team gearing up for Asian Jiu-Jitsu Championship

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Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

The UAE national Jiu-Jitsu team has entered the crucial final phase of preparations ahead of the sixth Asian Jiu-Jitsu Championships.

Running from March 28 to 31 in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, the tournament represents the UAE’s first chance this year to retain an international title and bolster the country’s dominance on the continent.

The squad of 26 Emirati athletes – 12 men and 14 women – is ensconced in a training camp at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City.

Overseen by technical staff from the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) and led by Ramon Lemos and Polyana Lago, the men’s and women’s coaches respectively, the players train in two shifts each day, from 9am-12pm then 6.30pm-8.30pm.

“The team members have entered a vital stage of preparation for the championship,” Lemos said. “We’re putting the final touches on the plans and tactics that will benefit the players on the mats and our focus is on increasing the players’ performance rate as well as improving their physical strength through a comprehensive training programme. We concentrate on building fitness levels and following an optimal diet throughout the camp.”

According to Lemos, the team has a diverse group of players that includes both time-served pros and young talents who performed brightly at the Asian and World Championships last year. “We have a strong squad and are in a good position because several of our players have competed in Asian and World Championships before and performed well. Of course, we’ll be up against experienced training institutes and seasoned athletes, but we’re all set for the task,” he added.

National team player Omar Al Fadhli admits representing the UAE in such events increases his feeling of pride but doubles the responsibility.

“I’ve already tasted victory in this tournament, but things are different this time as I’m a black belt holder,” he said. “My goals have gotten bigger – and my dreams have grown substantially too. I pay attention to the technical staff’s directions about always improving my abilities, and we are certain that we will achieve great results.”

Female team member Hamda Al Shekeili added: “Our goal is to reach the peak of our physical and mental fitness in order to improve our chances of winning gold medals in the Asian Championship. This year, I’ll be competing with the national team in a few international competitions, which has always brought me joy and pride.”

The men’s national team delegation includes: Fadhli, Zayed Al Kathiri, Thiab Al Nuaimi, Khaled Al Shehhi, Mohamed Ali Al Suwaidi, Farraj Khaled Al Awlaki, Muhammad Al Ameri, Mahdi Al Awlaki, Faisal Al Ketbi, Saeed Al Kubaisi, Abdullah Al Kubaisi, and Hazaa Farhan.

The women’s team includes: Hamda Al Shekheili, Shouq Al Dhanhani, Balqis Abdullah, Sharifa Al Namani, Asma Al Hosani, Maitha Sultan, Bashayer Al Matrooshi, Maha Al Hanai, Shamma Al Kalbani, Haya Al Jahuri, Mahra Mahfouz, Marwa Al Hosani, Tasneem Al Jahoori, and Maryam Al Amri.

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