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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Omar Al Fadhli hopes to cap memorable year with Emirati Sportsman of the Year award

Youngest member of the UAE jiu-jitsu national team, who won third domestic gold of the season at the President’s Cup Round 3 in Dubai over the weekend, is nominated in the best juvenile male category

Omar Al Fadhli, left, overcame Mana Al Breiki during the final of men Under 18 66kg final in the President’s Cup Round 3 at Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
Omar Al Fadhli, left, overcame Mana Al Breiki during the final of men Under 18 66kg final in the President’s Cup Round 3 at Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

When voting commences for the Emirati Sportsman of the Year on December 31 it is hard to imagine Omar Al Fadhli not walking away with the prize for best male juvenile.

Al Fadhli, at 17 the youngest member of the UAE jiu-jitsu national team, was nominated following a superb year that has yielded six gold medals from as many competitions including the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan, the Asian Championship in Vietnam and the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tokyo.

“If I deserve that award, so be it,” Al Fadhli said after claiming his third domestic gold for the season in the President’s Cup Round 3 at the Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club’s indoor stadium.

“The season has got off to a brilliant start for me and I would like to think my performance gets better after every competition.”

His other two domestic gold medals came at the Al Ain Open and the President’s Cup Round 2, also in Al Ain.

Next up for Al Fadhli is the Grand Slam Abu Dhabi on January 12-13 at Zayed Sports City’s Mubadala Arena. “That’s an important one at the beginning of an important year.” He will also feature at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship in April and the Asian Games in Jakarta in August.

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In Round 3, Al Fadhli was given a first-round bye before reeling off three straight wins over Maher Al Taher, Hazza Al Qubaisi and Mana Al Breiki in the 66-kilogramme Aspirants Under 18 category.

“I respect all my opponents and don’t like to say the fights were easy,” said Al Fadhli who was first called up to the senior national team for the Asian Beach Championship in Sri Lanka in July 2016, where he won a silver medal.

“Taking part in the domestic competitions are important because it provides a contest. Sometimes, you come across new opponents and you never know what to expect, like the one whom I met in Saturday’s final.”

Wadima Al Yafei, nominated for the Emirati Sportswoman of the Year award in the juvenile division, suffered a shock defeat to Zahra Al Dhahiri in the 49kg U21 final.

Her national team and Al Ain Club colleagues Hessa Al Shamsi, Bashayer Al Matrooshi and Maitha Shreim, all won golds in their respective weight categories.

Al Ain won 18 of the 38 gold that were up for grabs with national team members Humaid Al Kaabi, Saeed Ahmad Al Haj, Khalifa Nassrati and Zayed Al Kaabi all finishing on the top step of the podium.

Al Ain Club topped Round 3 with 755 points to take their overall tally to 2,107 with two rounds left. Al Wahda Club are second on 1,390 followed by Al Jazira on 1,363.

Round 4 takes place at the Baynunah Education Complex in Al Dhafra, Western Region, in February before the final round at the Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi in March.