Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

Abu Dhabi World Pro 2019: Omar Al Fadhli earns gold medal, purple belt and world title in one day

Emirati fighter described it as 'one of the best days in my life' after his victory in the blue belt 62-kilogram final

Omar Al Fadhli has his arm raised after victory in the  in the blue belt 62-kilogram final. Courtesy Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship
Omar Al Fadhli has his arm raised after victory in the  in the blue belt 62-kilogram final. Courtesy Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

Omar Al Fadhli had three reasons to celebrate at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship on Thursday.

The 18-year-old Emirati won his first gold in the adult division and was immediately promoted from blue to purple belt. The victory also earned him the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s (UAEJJF) world title in the blue belt.

“It’s one of the best days in my life. Just amazing,” Al Fadhli said after his victory over Brazilian Ricardo Conceicao by points 10-6 in the blue belt 62-kilogram final.

“The final was tough because the guy is very experienced and a big champion outside (the UAE). I was able to follow my coach’s instructions for the win.

“To be the world champion in any category is very special. I always believed that I could achieve it. Everyday when I woke up, I used to think about becoming a world champion.”

Al Fadhli remained 60 points ahead of Yago Oliveira, also from Brazil, on 1,100 points after both fighters collected the maximum 400 points from the UAEJJF’s season-ending championship.

Oliveira took gold with victory over Emirati Abdullah Al Qubaisi in the blue belt 94kg.

Ribamar Santiago, Al Fadhli’s high performance coach, was all praise for the youngster.

“I want him to get more experience and take the best route to the black belt,” the Brazilian said. “When I mean experience, to develop his techniques and learn new stuff and complement the good job he has done so far.

"The target is to be a black belt of a very high level in the world and represent UAE in the best possible way.

“I have been with him for three years and nine months. I remember him still as a boy with dreams of making it big in the sport. He has really worked to make this day come true."

Ever since he embraced jiu-jitsu in 2012, Al Fadhli had one goal in mind: to pursue a full time career in the martial art.

His dream was fulfilled in early December when he was given a professional contract by Palms Sports, the technical arm of the UAEJJF and a leading sports management company.

Al Fadhli took his record for the season to 36 wins, of which six were in the World Pro, and two losses.

It included golds in the Los Angeles and London Grand Slams, silver at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, golds in the Europe Continental Pro in Spain and in the Vice President’s Cup Round-3 in Dubai.

Al Fadhli’s success outside of UAEJJF events included the IJJF World Championship in Sweden in November and a silver medal at the Asian Games in Jakarta in August.

Updated: April 25, 2019 07:09 PM

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