Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 17 January 2020

Hamad Nawad ready for jiu-jitsu return after making his mum proud with exam results

Emirati, 19, set to compete at the Grand Slam Abu Dhabi despite only having had three weeks to prepare

Hamad Nawad, 19, has had little time to prepare for this Grand Slam Abu Dhabi taking place at the Mubadala Arena starting Thursday. Khushnum Bhandari for The National
Hamad Nawad, 19, has had little time to prepare for this Grand Slam Abu Dhabi taking place at the Mubadala Arena starting Thursday. Khushnum Bhandari for The National

Hamad Nawad is looking to regain the form that saw him win a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games as he prepares to return to competitive jiu-jitsu at the Grand Slam Abu Dhabi following an 18-month break.

The Emirati won gold at the 2018 Jakarta Games and was a late inclusion for the Grand Slam Abu Dhabi, which starts Thursday at the Mubadala Arena, having only recently resumed training following time out to complete his high school studies.

“I have already prepared my training schedule with the coach and want to participate in every competition from now on,” Nawad said.

“There are a lot of international competitions coming up this year and my goal is to get back to the national team, particularly for the Asian Beach Games" in Sanya, China, in November.

“I resumed training only three weeks ago and gave a lot of thought before entering my name to the Grand Slam.

“I have to start somewhere and I thought it was best to start in the Grand Slam, which is the first major competition of the year. I’m still not in the shape I would like to be for a competition at this level but I want to get on with my preparation for 2020 after the break.”

Nawad, 19, passed his high school exams with an average of 86.6 per cent. His marks combined with his jiu-jitsu prowess earned him a scholarship for a four-year undergraduate course in Information Technology on Security and Forensics at the High Colleges of Technology (HCT).

“I spent three tough years to win a place in the Asian Games team and wanted a break to complete my high school successfully,” Nawad added.

“To get good marks in the examination was one of the conditions that my mother allowed me to pursue my jiu-jitsu.

“I was aiming at 90 per cent but the result I got was good enough to make my mother happy. I promised her that I’ll do well in both and I’m glad I was able to achieve that.”

Nawad, who competes in the purple belt 56-kilogram weight, also underwent nose surgery during his time away from the mat, a procedure he had continually postponed as he pressed for a place on the UAE's Asian Games team.

He has been training five times a week since in preparation for the Grand Slam and says he will up the intensity and sessions as the year progresses.

“It can be twice a day or even thrice a day when we are preparing for a major competition,” he said.

“The training depends on how my coach prepares the schedules. However, that’s not something new. I have been through that for three years before the Asian Games.

“The Asian Games was a dream come true for me. I put everything into it to get into the national team. And returning with a gold was my best moment so far since I took up jiu-jitsu in 2012.”

One of the driving forces behind the need to perhaps over train is the failure to medal at last year's Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

Nawad puts that setback down to a lack of preparation, a valuable lesson he had to learn the hard way.

“I went into that competition without any preparation,” he said. “I knew I wasn’t ready but I told my coach to enter my name.

“I lost because of my own mistake by conceding two early points. That was another lesson learnt, not to enter a competition without preparing.”

Updated: January 15, 2020 11:55 AM

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