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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Emirati female jiu-jitsu fighters break new ground in Tokyo's Grand Slam competition

Mariam Al Ameri and Salwa Mahboob win in white belt 70 and 90kg weight categories, respectively, while Wadima Yafei takes bronze in juvenile blue belt 52kg at Grand Slam Tokyo.

The UAE is becoming a force to reckon with in jiu-jitsu. Christopher Pike / The National
The UAE is becoming a force to reckon with in jiu-jitsu. Christopher Pike / The National

The Emirati female jiu-jitsu fighters broke new ground on the international stage when they returned with two gold and a bronze for the first time ever at a Grand Slam event.

Mariam Al Ameri and Salwa Mahboob emerged winners in the white belt 70 and 90 kilogrammes weight categories, respectively, while Wadima Yafei took bronze in the juvenile blue belt 52kg in the Grand Slam Tokyo in the weekend.

It was only the second time the Emirati female fighters took part in a Grand Slam event after London in March last year.

With the UAE national team’s elite fighters preparing for the World Games in Poland later in the month, the UAE were represented by a youthful 27-member squad from four clubs – Al Ain, Al Jazira, Baniyas and Al Wahda.

Among the men’s team who impressed were the UAE national team members Hamdan Al Blooshi (gold in the purple 110kg) and Khalifa Nassrati Al Blooshi (silver-blue 62kg), and the junior internationals Omar Al Fadhli (gold-juvenile blue 66kg) and Humaid Al Kaabi (silver-juvenile blue 73kg).

There were 99 finals worked off in the day-long competition for a total prize find of US$125,000 (nearly Dh460,000).

The Brazilians topped the gold rush with 39 medals followed by host Japan on 27.

Nathiely de Jesus, the women’s world No 1, made a winning start to the season. The Brazilian caught Ingrid Franco with a toe hold and then finished Lee Ann Genovese with an americana lock to take the black belt 90kg gold.

Priscila Cerqueira, one of the challengers to the No 1 title, fought twice to make to the top of the podium in the black belt 70kg.

She outclassed Jessica Andrade before finishing off Caroline da Silva with an arm lock in an all Brazilian final.

Dongwa Choi of South Korea got the better of Brazilian Wanderson Amakawa 7-0 to take the men’s black belt 110kg gold in the absence of world No 1 Jose Junior, the Abu Dhabi based Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor.