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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 April 2019

For Gabriel Arges attitude determines altitude at Abu Dhabi Grand Slam

Arges emphasises importance of 'winning mentality' as he beats fellow Brazilian Isaque Braz in final 'King of Mats' final

Gabriel Arges defeated Isaque Braz in an all-Brazilian 'King of Mats' final at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam on Saturday. Courtesy UAEJJF
Gabriel Arges defeated Isaque Braz in an all-Brazilian 'King of Mats' final at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam on Saturday. Courtesy UAEJJF

Gabriel Arges credited his team and a winning mentality for being crowned the 'King of Mats' at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam on Saturday.

Arges got the better of Isaque Braz in the final of a competition that pitted the 10 best middleweights against each other - hence the name - at the Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City. The Brazilian beat his compatriot on points (6-2).

“I went to this match with the mentality of winning the title, and I gave it my best shot,” Arges said. “It was a really intense tournament, as the breaks between five fights each the finalists we had to go through were really very short."

He also paid tribute to his fellow fighters for helping him raise his game in competitions such as the one held in the capital over the past three days.

“I would like to give all the credit for my performances to my team and teammates," he said. "They have helped me to develop my skill and set my career as an athlete.

"It is a nice feeling to add this prestigious title to my collection.”

Braz lauded Arges, who narrowly missed taking the world No 1 ranking in the 2016/17 season, calling him a top-notch athlete. “I badly wanted to win, but Gabriel was on top of his game on the day. I hope I can come back again and win in future,” he said.

Meanwhile, Adam Wardzinski prevented a Brazilian gold medal sweep at the Grand Slam in the black belt open division when the Polish fighter overcame Renato Cardoso to claim the 94-kilogram final by advantage points (2-1). The Brazilians won six of the remaining men's finals and all four of the women's summit clashes.

Erberth Santos edged out Ricardo Evangelista in the 110kg final.

But the highlight for the host nation was Mahra Al Hanaei’s victory in the female blue belt 55kg, her second Grand Slam gold after Rio de Janeiro in November. It was also the Emirati teenager’s fifth gold overall for the season since returning with a silver medal at the Asian Games in Jakarta in August.

Al Hanaei, 16, won her first three fights by submission, over two Emiratis and Farah Al Zahrany of Saudi Arabia. She outclassed Charlyne Marzo of Switzerland by points 10-0 in the final.

Al Hanaei’s Asian Games teammate Hessa Al Shamsi won the blue belt 62kg final from Japan’s Maha Yamamoto by submission.

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Bashayar Al Matrooshi, another member of the Asian Games squad, took bronze in the same weight with a 7-0 victory by points over Agnieszka Wrodarczyk of Poland.

Faisal Al Ketbi suffered a surprise defeat to Briton Bradley Hill by submission in the 85kg. He lost to Brazilian Igor Silva on the referee’s decision after a scoreless deadlock in the repechage.

“The result was a bit disappointing but that’s how life in this sport is, you win some and lose some,” the Emirati said.

“My journey as a jiu-jitsu player representing this great country will continue and with the objectives of achieving bigger goals in 2019.”

Updated: January 13, 2019 04:09 PM

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