Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 10 December 2019

After hitting the books, Nassrati now focused on reaching new heights in jiu-jitsu

The Emirati, 20, took time away from the martial art to complete his studies. Now back and feeling refreshed, he is part of the UAE squad taking part at the JJIF World Championship

Khalifa Nassrati, left, during a training session ahead of the JJIF World Championship from November 16-24. Courtesy UAEJJF
Khalifa Nassrati, left, during a training session ahead of the JJIF World Championship from November 16-24. Courtesy UAEJJF

Khalifa Nassrati says he feels refreshed and raring to go after taking time away from jiu-jitsu to complete his studies and is ready to justify his place in the UAE squad taking part at the JJIF World Championship.

The Emirati, 20, took time off complete his high school exams, earning a place at UAE University in Al Ain where he will study for a degree in Business Administration and Human Resources.

Injury curtailed his comeback, but after some solid performances in domestic competitions, the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation named Nassrati in their squad for the World Championship being held in Abu Dhabi for the first time. The championship runs at the Mubadala Arena from November 16-24.

“I’m glad to be back in the national team and this is a big opportunity for me to be on the world stage,” he told The National.

“I had a break of around six months because of my studies. Then I had a few injuries to recoup. I had to fix my body. The break has done me good both physically and mentally.

“I spent more time in the gym when I came back after the break. I did more physical training, as I wanted to get stronger and fitter rather than spending more time in jiu-jitsu.

“I started competing from November 2018. I’m now ready for the World Championship. Hope I can get a good result.”

Nassrati is known for his iron will and strong character. He competes at the top level of jiu-jitsu despite being born with congenital birth defect that left him with stumped fingers on his left hand.

Nassrati launched his comeback by winning a gold medal at the inaugural Vice President’s Cup, and followed that up with two silvers in the next two rounds. He picked up a second gold medal for the season at the Ras Al Khaimah International Pro Championship.

At the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship in April, Nassrati won a silver medal in the 62kg purple belt and followed that up with gold at the Fujairah International Pro Championship last month.

“Actually, it’s very hard to divide time between studies and jiu-jitsu, especially when you have to compete at the highest level,” Nassrati said.

“Nevertheless, I love the sport and always find solutions. Jiu-jitsu has taught me time management.

I want to win gold because it’s in our land. Competing at home in front of our people actually gives me more confidence

“I spend the whole morning studying and train in the evenings. After training, I spend a little time again on my studies before I hit the bed.

“That’s been my routine since I got into university at the end of last year. I’m mature enough to understand how valuable time is for me. I manage my time more professionally by dividing between studies and jiu-jitsu, and the people I hang around with.”

Nassrati is a two-time gold medalist at the JJIF Youth Worlds and now wants to make a memorable first appearance in the adult division.

He said the chance to compete at a World Championship on home soil was a huge source of pride.

“I’m very excited and looking forward for this moment,” he added. “I want to win gold because it’s in our land. Competing at home in front of our people actually gives me more confidence.”

Updated: November 12, 2019 12:36 PM

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