Mahra Al Hanaei wins gold in 52kg, while Wadima Al Yafei collects silver in 48kg - both in blue belt juvenile divisions
Rich haul of medals for UAE jiu-jitsu team even as American Ribeiro fails to win at Grand Slam Rio de Janeiro
The UAE's jiu-jitsu fighters returned home with seven gold, four silver and six bronze medals from Grand Slam Rio de Janeiro during the weekend.
Chief among the 42-strong team's accomplishments were Mahra Al Hanaei's gold medal win in the 52-kilogram weight and the silver claimed by Wadima Al Yafei in the 48kg - both in the blue belt juvenile divisions.
Al Hanaei, 16, defeated Giovanna Miranda twice in the event, held at Carioca Arena in the Rio Olympic Park. She won her first fight on points (6-1) and forced a submission in the final.
Al Yafei overcame Brazilian Raquel Oliveira on points (4-1) and went down to Andressa Freitas, another from the host nation, on points (4-2) in the final.
Hessa Al Shamsi took bronze in the blue belt 57kg, but Bashayer Al Matrooshi made a first-round exit after being beaten by eventual winner Maria Amorim on points (7-5).
Other gold medallists included Ali Mohammed Al Rashdi in the white belt 60kg and Yahya Al Nuaimi in the blue belt 46kg - both in the male juvenile division - Abdulla Al Jneibi in the white belt 69kg, Hassan Ali Al Raeesi in the white 110kg Masters-1, Saeed Mobarak Al Mesmari in the white 62kg Masters-2 and Jassim Mubarak in the purple 77kg Masters-2.
The Brazilians once again dominated the black belt weight divisions, clinching six of the seven gold medals that were up for grabs for men and all seven in the women’s category.
There were two shock results in the black belt division, with Alexandre Ribeiro of the United States and Poland's Adam Wardzinski both losing in the 94kg division.
Ribeiro was beaten in a tight decision to Brazilian Patrick Gaudio, the eventual medal winner, who was awarded the bout by the referees for his grit and attacking style of performance during the fight.
Ribeiro tried to go for the arm bar finish but was unable keep it locked in as Gaudio rallied in the final couple of minutes to clinch the fight after the deadlock on points.
The American was magnanimous in defeat.
“Jiu-jitsu is all about respect, so I congratulate Patrick on his win. Don't get me wrong: Patrick performed really well, he defended perfectly, especially my arm bar attempt," Ribeiro said before adding, however, that "I was the more aggressive fighter and I should’ve won".
Wardzinski, who leads the world ranking points on 720 points, lost in the quarter-final on points (6-0) to Brazilian Guilherme Santos, who went on to take the silver.
“I am a bit disappointed to not win. I was going for the gold - perhaps [even] a showdown with Xande [Ribeiro] - but unfortunately he also lost,” Wardzinski said.
“This shows that there are no easy fights when you are at the Grand Slam, especially in Brazil. It's back again on the mats for me to train harder. I will see you all in Abu Dhabi in January.”
Six of the seven black belt weight divisions were won by the Brazilians, except the 110kg final, which went to the Polish Gerard Labinski who edged out Igor Silva by an advantage point.
Mayssa Bastos (600) consolidated her lead at the top of the world rankings table, uncontested in the 49kg category.
Beatriz Mesquita (62kg) and Ana Srour (70kg) both picked up ranking points on their first appearances in a Grand Slam for the season.