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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Emirati jiu-jitsu sisters aim for gold rush at inaugural Abu Dhabi World Youth Cup

Participation of three Emirati sisters Maha, Mahra and Hana Al Hanaei will be one of the highlights as they attempt to win gold medals in their respective categories, writes Amith Passela.
Mahra, left, Hana, centre, and Maha Al Al Hanaei will be seen in action at Abu Dhabi in the coming week. Courtesy Safa Saif Al Hanaei
Mahra, left, Hana, centre, and Maha Al Al Hanaei will be seen in action at Abu Dhabi in the coming week. Courtesy Safa Saif Al Hanaei

ABU DHABI // Ahead of next week’s main event – the Dh2.5 million Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship – the inaugural Abu Dhabi World Youth Cup takes place over the next two days at the Ipic Arena.

The participation of three Emirati sisters Maha, Mahra and Hana Al Hanaei will be one of the highlights on Sunday as they attempt to win gold medals in their respective categories.

Maha, 16, has returned with a medal in every jiu-jitsu competition she has participated in since taking up the sport when it was first introduced nearly five years ago at the Mariam bint Sultan Girls School in Al Ain.

She is a blue belt, the highest rating in the junior and youth category. It is her fourth appearance in the Abu Dhabi championship before the competition was elevated to world status.

“The competition will be tougher as a world event,” Maha said. “There are quite a number of foreign participants this time, and they are unknown opponents for us.

“I guess it is the same for them and that’s why this competition is so challenging for all of us.”

“Anything can happen in this sport. I want to stay on guard. I hope my nerves will ease once I enter the first bout. Then on it will be one fight at a time. I want to win and meet His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed [Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces].”

Mahra, 15, will be competing in the green belt 54.5kg teen category, and said that to be fighting alongside her two sisters was a big motivation.

“When you are together and pursuing the same dream then things become easier,” she said. “The topic for the last few months have been nothing but this competition.”

Hana is determined to return with gold.

“Had I won the title last year, it would have been three golds in our family,” she said. “I was disappointed to miss out but this year I hope will be different. It will be a huge achievement for us and our family.​”

apassela@thenational.ae

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