The 19-year-old Emirati has already claimed titles at the President’s Cup Round 1 and the Al Ain International Pro
Khalifa Nassrati claims third gold of jiu-jitsu season at inaugural Vice President’s Cup Round 1
Khalifa Nassrati made a victorious return to jiu-jitsu on Saturday, winning gold at the inaugural Vice President’s Cup Round 1 after taking time off to complete his studies.
The 19-year-old Emirati, who was born with a congenital birth defect that left him with stumped fingers on his left hand, has now claimed three gold medals in three competitions this season.
Representing Al Ain Club, Nassrati won the men’s 62-kilogram weight class at Al Jazira Club to follow up his successes in the President’s Cup Round 1 and the Al Ain International Pro.
“I returned to train midway last season and had to do a lot of catching up,” he said after victories over Hussain Al Sharif, Abdullah Musalim, Ali Majid and Ali Hassan.
“It has been good so far but I still have a lot to do to catch up with the elite fighters. Now there are more elite fighters than in previous years and it means a lot of hard work.”
Another fighter to make an impression was Mohammed Al Amri, who has made a seamless transition from judo to jiu-jitsu.
In two years, he has won the Emirati Jiu-Jitsu Player of the Year award in the blue belt for the 2017-2018 season, and was runner up in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship last April. He has since been elevated to purple belt.
Al Amri, 24, is a black belt in judo and has been practicing the martial art for more than six years. He has represented the UAE national team at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam as well as both the Arab and Gulf Championships.
“What I have achieved in jiu-jitsu in two years far outweighs the time I spent in judo,” he said after defeating UAE national team member Naser Al Breiki by advantage points 5-2 in the semi-finals of the 77kg division.
Al Amri then went on to win the final against his Jazira teammate Abdulla Al Junaibi by submission.
“Being a judoka, the transition to jiu-jitsu was easy,” Al Amri said. “I think I was ahead of some of those already established in jiu-jitsu because of my judo techniques and fitness.”
The Vice President’s Cup comprises competitions of individuals representing clubs in three divisions: from ages 15-17, youth U21, and men.
Al Ain topped the medals table with nine golds followed by Al Wahda (5), Baniyas (4) and one each from Al Dhafra, Ajman, Al Jazira and AFNT.