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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 October 2018

Faisal Al Ketbi targets more Asian Games gold in four years time as domestic jiu-jitsu season kicks off

The Emirati, 31, was not in action at the Al Jazira indoor stadium but mentored several teammates to victory in the President's Cup Round 1

Having accomplished a childhood dream of winning a gold medal at the Asian Games, Faisal Al Ketbi wants to replicate that feat in four years time in China.

The Emirati, 31, has already drawn up his training schedule and insists four years is not a large enough time-frame to prepare for a big competition.

Al Ketbi’s first competition after the August Games in Jakarta is the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation’s (JJIF) World Championships in Malmo, Sweden in November.

“My objective this season was to compete in all five Grand Slams but I missed two already,” he said on the sidelines of the season-opening President’s Cup Round 1 at the Al Jazira indoor stadium on Saturday.

Al Ketbi skipped both Tokyo and Los Angeles Grand Slams because of a clash with national team’s preparation for the Asian Games. He will miss the leg in Rio de Janeiro as it clashes with the world championships.

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“What’s left for me are the world championship, both the Grand Slams in Abu Dhabi in January and London in March, and the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship in April,” he said.

Has life changed for the country's most decorated jiu-jitsu practioner after Asian Games gold?

“I would say Faisal Al Ketbi had closed one page in his sporting career and opened another,” he said.

“Life hasn’t changed much but it has motivated me to work harder. It is easier to reach the top but difficult to remain on top.

“But I want to remain at the top until the next Asian Games. It is my mission to be there at the top. As an athlete and mentor, I want to inspire the next generation of Emirati jiu-jitsu fighters.”

Meanwhile, Al Ketbi’s teammates were all successful in winning their finals at Saturday's President's Cup bar Asian Games bronze medallist Mohammed Al Qubaisi, who lost to Naser Al Breiki and Mohammed Abdul Reza.

Al Ketbi did not compete, instead taking on the role of assistant coach. Asian Games teammates Hamad Nawad, Omar Al Fadhli, Saeed Al Mazrouie, Humaid Al Kaabi, Talib Al Kirbi, Saud Al Hammadi, Mohammed Haitham Radhi and Zayed Al Kaabi all won their finals in the opening competition of the domestic season.

On Friday, the UAE national team’s women’s quartet at the Asian Games - Mahra Al Hanaei, a silver medallist in Jakarta, and teammates Wadima Al Yafei, Bashayer Al Matrooshi and Hessa Al Shamsi - all won gold at the Mother of Nation Round 1 to help Al Ain Club top the points tally.