Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 11 December 2019

Omar Al Fadhli says 'no pressure' ahead of jiu-jitsu title defence at JJIF World Championship

Emirati, 19, is on a hot streak heading into the tournament being held in Abu Dhabi for the first time from November 16-24

Omar Al Fadhli says he just wants to 'go out there and do the best I can' when he defends his title at the the JJIF World Championship in Abu Dhabi. Khushnum Bhandari for The National
Omar Al Fadhli says he just wants to 'go out there and do the best I can' when he defends his title at the the JJIF World Championship in Abu Dhabi. Khushnum Bhandari for The National

Omar Al Fadhli says he feels no added pressure of performing in front of his home crowd as he prepares to defend his jiu-jitsu title at the JJIF World Championship starting in Abu Dhabi this week.

Al Fadhli, 19, made history when he became the first Emirati to win gold in both the youth and adult divisions in the World Championship in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

The Emirati is in good shape for the World Championship, being held in the capital for the first time from November 16-24, following victories over Brazilians Thiago Goncalves and Giovanny Do Nascimento at the Al Ain Pro International Championship last month.

“I want to just go there and do the job, that’s what I always believe in,” Al Fadhli told The National.

“For me it is all the same whether I compete abroad or at home at any level. I don’t want to put pressure on my head by thinking that I have a title to defend ... I always want to do the best on what I do every day, whether it’s a competition or training."

Al Fadhli revealed a rigorous training regime. Since signing a professional contract with Palms Sports, the technical arm of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, last year, the teenager trains six days a week, which includes double sessions in the mornings and evenings.

“To be able to do what I love most, full time, is amazing,” he said. “Even before being offered a contract I had made up my mind to make jiu-jitsu a full-time career and when I received this offer it really was a bonanza for me.

“It’s my full-time job. The training routine is the same for me but the schedule can change when I’m with the national team camp. But all the same, I enjoy what I do.

“I want to achieve more for my country and me, provided I keep healthy. I am always ready for competitions whether it be a World Championship or any other.

“In combat sports one needs to be on top of the game all the time and against every opponent, be it an established one or a newcomer.

“There is no guarantee of a win in this sport because the competitions have reached a level where there are no clear favourites. This is the beauty of this sport.”

This year's World Championship will for the first time combine both the Youth and Open categories together across the nine days with more than 1,500 fighters set to compete from 69 countries.

The championship gets underway with the preliminaries of the Under 18s and U21s from 9am on Friday with the opening ceremony slated for 3pm.

The main rounds of the Youth Worlds for both males and females will take place over the next two days followed by the Masters, Para Jiu-Jitsu, Team Championship and the Open divisions.

Updated: November 11, 2019 12:29 PM

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