Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 27 May 2019

Abu Dhabi World Pro 2019: Jose Nduazulu-Ndilu continues 'incredible year' with gold medal finish

Belgian aims for hat-trick of juvenile titles in California next month after beating Swede Elis Wiklund in capital

Jose Nduazulu-Ndilu made a winning first appearance at the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship on Monday.

The Belgian will take home a gold medal after beating Swede Elis Wiklund to clinch the 94-kilogram blue belt division at Mubadala Arena to add to the ones he won at the European Youths in Lisbon, Portugal, in January.

Nduazulu-Ndilu will now aim for a hat-trick of juvenile titles at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s (IBJJF) World Youths in California next month.

“It’s been an incredible year for me to win the European Youths, both my weight and the absolute division, and to come here and win the World Youths,” 17-year-old said. “This is my final year in the juvenile, and [I am] hoping to make the most by taking part in the IBJJF World Youths in California.

“The long-term goals are to replicate the same successes in the adult division. It can be next year or five years later, but that would be my goal as long as I stay in competition.”

Nduazulu-Ndilu scored two early points from a sweep in the final over Wiklund before standing strong on his guard to preserve the lead and eventually win. However, he conceded his toughest fight the semi-final win against Brazil's Dennis Souza, which he won 7-2 by points.

“He was strong, very sleek with good guards,” said Nduazulu-Ndilu, who earlier beat Emirati Mohammed Al Harmi 6-0 and Dias Takhirzhanov of Kazakhstan by submission.

“Overall, it was a good competition and good result for me. I have been in jiu-jitsu for more than six years and I’m enjoying my time travelling the world. Hopefully I’ll be back in Abu Dhabi next year to compete in the adult division.”

While the teenager attracted attention for his performance, the most popular winner of the day was Emirati Hazza Al Qubaisi who edged out Russia's Artur Osipov in the blue belt 73kg final.

“It was the toughest weight division with maximum participation, and to take gold was great feeling,” said the 16-year-old who arrived at Mubadala on the back of two Grand Slam gold-medal wins in Abu Dhabi and London.

“I had to face opponents from five different countries and they all had a different style and strategies. I won two golds and a silver in three Grand Slams, but this definitely tops all of them.

“This is only my second year in jiu-jitsu. I won gold in the white belt last year, and this is just fantastic.”

Al Qubaisi beat Thailand's Nakharin Engwerda, Yaman Noureddin of Syria, Moldovan Cristi-Valentin Betivu and Russia's Musa Gazalapov to reach the final.

In the other blue belt categories - the highest grade for a juvenile - Murafis Ismailov outclassed Emirati Sultan Khamis Al Ameri in the 82kg final; Noah Lim of Singapore took the 66kg gold from Brazilian Pedro Avila; and Nurzhan Batyrbekov downed Askar Kharkiyev in an all-Kazakh 60kg final.

Khaled Al Shehhi overcame Kazakh Pavel Simakin in the 55kg; Salem Ali Zayed got the better of compatriot Ahmed Al Zaabi in the 50kg; and Khaled bin Shamlan took the 46kg in another all-Emirati final against Ammar Al Dhaheri.

The host team bagged 15 golds from the 60 that were up for grabs on Day 3 of the week-long event.

Updated: April 22, 2019 10:52 PM

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