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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Mahra Al Hanaei claims third gold of jiu-jitsu season at Grand Slam Rio de Janeiro

Emirati teenager beats three Brazilians en route to the title

Mahra Al Hanaei, pictured in April, put UAE women's jiu-jitsu firmly on the world map when she won a silver medal in the 49-kilogram weight division at the Asian Games. Victor Besa / The National
Mahra Al Hanaei, pictured in April, put UAE women's jiu-jitsu firmly on the world map when she won a silver medal in the 49-kilogram weight division at the Asian Games. Victor Besa / The National

Mahra Al Hanaei clinched her third gold of the season after stepping up in class and defeating three Brazilians in their own backyard at the Grand Slam Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

The 16-year-old Emirati, who won jiu-jitsu silver at the Asian Games, overcame Erika Silva, Maria Rocha and Giovanna Miranda in the final of the female juvenile blue belt 52-kilogram division at the Arena Carioca.

Al Hanaei had earlier won gold in two domestic competitions – the Mother of Nation and Al Ain International – before heading for her first Grand Slam of the season.

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Al Hanaei’s national team colleague, Bashayer Al Matrooshi, took bronze in the juvenile blue belt 63kg, while Wadima Al Yafei (blue belt 49kg) and Maha Al Hanaei (purple belt 55kg) both failed to make the podium in the adult divisions.

The seven black belt categories for men and the five for women were all won by Brazilians.

Erberth Santos retained the men’s heavyweight crown and Gabi Pessanha the women’s title.

Santos, the defending champion of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, returned from Los Angeles to defend his title, which he did successfully by defeating compatriot Fernando Reis with a bow and arrow choke in the final.

“Fernando is a very tough opponent and I had to bring my A-game to win,” Santos said. “Much respect to him, but he's not leaving with my gold. Absolutely not. It was a very tough fight.”

Ricardo Evangelista, the Abu Dhabi based Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor, fell just short of the podium after reaching the semi-finals. He went down to Reis on the referee’s decision after a 2-2 deadlock in the quarter-finals.