Faisal Al Ketbi grabs fourth gold at JJIF World Championship in Abu Dhabi
Al Ketbi dedicates victory to National Day celebration
Faisal Al Ketbi grabbed his fourth JJIF World Championship gold and dedicated it to his people and the country’s 48th National Day celebration on December 2.
“I have a lot of people to thank on this wonderful journey and to achieve my first JJIF gold in front of my home fans especially when the nation is set to celebrate the National Day is overwhelming to my heart,” the Emirati said.
Al Ketbi, 32, won his first JJIF World Championship gold in Thailand in 2015 and replicated that success in Poland and Colombia in the next two years, but failed to reach the podium last year in Sweden.
The most decorated Emirati jiu-jitsuka atoned for that disappointment at the Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi on Friday, racing to a clear victor in the final against the German Julian Stonjek by points 2-0 in the 94kg final.
After drawing a first round bye, Al Ketbi overcame Max Hederstrom of Sweden by points 4-0 in the second round. He won against Matko Kvesic of Croatia and Israeli Roy Dagan both 2-0 on points to reach the final.
Al Ketbi met Hederstrom and Kvesic previously in two previous finals in Thailand and Colombia, and Stonjek six weeks ago at the German Open.
“I had met all three of them except my semi-final opponent, so I had a fair knowledge of those whom I was competing against,” he said.
“Nowadays there are no secrets of knowing the opponents but I used different strategies against each of them and they worked out perfectly well on the night.
“I met Julian in the German Open in my last competition and won by an advantage point.
“He saw a different Faisal this time around because he was facing me in our territory and in front of our fans, and I wouldn’t want to lose the gold, given the occasion.
“I scored an early advantage point and then two points from a sweep, and then managed to preserve that lead until the end.
“My tactics against my opponents whom I met before were different from the last time I met them. I pulled guard against all three and scored from the sweeps. It was a strategy we worked while preparing for this competition and it worked out well for me.”
Stonjek, 23, had one fight more than Al Ketbi did but he was impressive in reaching the final, winning three of his four fights by submissions.
“Faisal is a very clever and canny opponent,” Stonjek said. “His wrestling and judo are very good.
“He is so fast when pulling guard and he gets into good positions quickly. It was very close when we first met but he is so smart and hard to fight.
“Last year I won bronze in the Worlds and Faisal didn’t make it to the podium. I think I did a little better to take silver this time and next year I want to come back and take the gold, hopefully.”
Abu Dhabi will host the JJIF Worlds for the next two years after signing a three-year agreement.
Russian Adulbari Guseinov and Nimrod Ryeder of Israel won the two remaining golds that were on offer on the day in the 85kg and 77kg respectively.
Updated: November 23, 2019 10:25 AM