Gold rush for Emirati girls at Abu Dhabi World Youth (female) Jiu-Jitsu Championship
Haya Al Jahoori, representing Al Wahda Club, led the medal charge for the host nation by claiming the blue belt 82-kilogram weight final
Emirati girls won 26 of 61 gold medals on offer in the Abu Dhabi World Youth (female) Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the Mubadala Arena on Sunday.
Haya Al Jahoori, representing Al Wahda Club, led the medal charge for the host nation by claiming the blue belt 82-kilogram weight final by submission over Malika Zhakupova of Kazakhstan.
It was the 16-year-old's was fourth gold in the World Youths after previous victories in the grey and green belts in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
“This obviously is the biggest so far,” she said. “It’s even better than the gold I won at the London Grand Slam in the juvenile blue belt in March because this was much harder.
“It was tough fights all the way, even though I had to meet three other Emirati girls, en route to the final. I scored an early lead from a take down and then pushed harder for the win.”
A member of the UAE age group team, Al Jahoori has won silver in Spain and bronze in Jordan while representing Al Wahda.
“I came from the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s School Program and have been practicing the martial arts for eight years and now I'm reaping some rewards,” she added.
Shamma Al Hosani (44kg), Hamda Al Shkeili (48kg) and Shamma Al Kalbani (52kg) were the other successful Emirati girls in the blue belt division.
Brazil's Aylla Silva, in the 57kg, and Mongolian Khulan Batmunkh, in the 70kg, took the remaining two blue belt finals.
It was a second gold for 16-year-old Silva, who joined her jiu-jitsu instructor parents in Abu Dhabi two years ago
“Jiu-jitsu brought me here and gave me the opportunity to compete in the World Youths,” she said. “I won gold in the yellow belt last year and now a gold in the blue belt, which was amazing.”
Silva came through a tough passage to reach the final, which she won against Emirati Asma Al Hosani by points 2-0.
Her first opponent was Shaikha Al Mansoori, and then Kazakhstan trio Alua Duisenbek, Sabrina Kakhar and Dina Davlyatova.
“Every fight was tough,” said Aylla, who paid tribute to the Emirati girls. “They have the best training facilities, instructors and above all the support from their federation.
“But above all, success for them has come through real hard work, commitment and the passion they have for the sport. They will continue to improve as we have seen throughout the World Youths."
Batmunkh edged out Shamsa Gharebi 3-2 to clinch gold in her first visit to Abu Dhabi.
“Everyone come with the dream of winning gold and I’m so fortunate to have achieved it,” said the 17-year-old from Mongolia.
Al Shkeili celebrated her second successive World Youths blue belt gold after getting the better of Kinaree Adkins of the Netherlands.
“We train as hard as anyone in this competition,” said the 17-year-old Emirati. “The bar of this competition is raised every year and so are we.
“This is my fourth World Youths and second successive gold in the blue belt. I’m so happy for my country and myself.”
Shamma Al Kalbani had an easier passage than some of her compatriots, winning the final against Australian Brionii Cuskelly by points 6-0.
The action on Monday shifts to the World Youths (male) at the same venue from 11am to 6pm.
Updated: April 21, 2019 09:40 PM