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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 April 2019

Thani Mishal Al Blooshi reaching for the stars after U18 Challenge Championship jiu-jitsu win

Already in junior national team, Emirati teenager now targeting black belt and place in senior national team

Thani Mishal Al Blooshi proved dominant in the U18 Challenge Championship at Mubadala Arena at the weekend. Leslie Pableo for The National
Thani Mishal Al Blooshi proved dominant in the U18 Challenge Championship at Mubadala Arena at the weekend. Leslie Pableo for The National

Like most young Emiratis emerging from the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s schools programme, Thani Mishal Al Blooshi has come a long way in accomplishing many of his goals.

The 15-year-old fighter, who won the Under 18 Challenge Championship in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, is now targeting the black belt and a place in the senior national team. Already in the junior national team since taking up the martial arts sport just four years ago, he now believes he is in a position to reach for the stars.

The good thing is he is aware that, like with any sport, the challenges become greater as he moves up the rankings.

“The competition has become very fierce with more and more youngsters with the same ambitions and objectives turning up at every local competition,” Al Blooshi said after claiming gold at the Mubadala Arena, where over the course of three days more than 3,000 girls and boys from all over the country competed.

Al Blooshi won his first two rounds by passing the guard, next by submission and the final by advantage points.

“This is my fourth gold in four years in this tournament. Obviously one has to work hard to achieve such results consistently," he said, adding that while the first two years were "pretty straightforward for me", the next two were anything but that.

He is proud of his achievements, and for good reason.

“I’m in blue belt from this year, and that’s a big jump in the rankings for me and tougher opponents to compete against," he pointed out.

The blue belt is the highest rank a junior can have.

Al Blooshi's next challenge is to ride the wave heading into the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship in April, which he will prepare for by competing in domestic tournaments between now and then.

“I have been successful in the worlds twice - winning gold in the white in 2016 and yellow in 2018 - but this time it definitely will be much harder in the blue belt,” he conceded.

“But if I want to successful, I must win at every level because my ultimate goal is to achieve the black belt.

"I have my family fully behind me in support and that’s a massive strength for me to achieve those goals,” he added.

Updated: February 10, 2019 01:59 PM

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