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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

UAE's Faisal Al Ketbi to lead jiu-jitsu quartet at World Games in Poland

Al Hammadi, Al Kirbi and Al Qubaisi will fight for four of six gold medals up for grabs at weekend event.

Faisal Al Ketbi is gearing up for another international challenge - this time in Poland. Ravindranath K / The National
Faisal Al Ketbi is gearing up for another international challenge - this time in Poland. Ravindranath K / The National

The UAE will field their four best jiu-jitsu fighters at the World Games in Poland this weekend.

Faisal Al Ketbi, Yahia Mansour Al Hammadi, Taleb Al Kirbi and Mohammed Al Qubaisi - who also happen to be the country's longest-serving fighers - will be vying for four of the six gold medals up for grabs at the Wroclaw event, which takes place on Friday and Saturday.

Led by Al Ketbi, 29, the first Emirati black belt in the sport, the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation has handpicked the quartet from a squad of more than 40.

“It is a world event and we have travelled with our most experienced fighters, with the best track record in the country,” said Roberto Lima, the UAE national team’s Brazilian coach.

The Emiratis arrive in Poland relatively fresh after having missed the season’s opening two competitions - this month’s World Beach Games competition in Thailand and the Grand Slam Tokyo.

“From the onset of this season, this was the federation’s objective,” Lima said. “We have had a camp and travelled 10 days before the competition at Wroclaw.

“We arrived here for a two reasons - for the opening ceremony and to spend more time training in a new environment. So far, everything has gone to plan and we are now looking forward for the fight day.”

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Lima said his fighters are faced with a tough task of returning home with honours.

“These are prestigious medals to win,” he said. “It goes without saying the world’s best will be on the mat.

“There are those who have competed in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championships and the Grand Slams, but there are also those whom our boys have never seen before. So, let’s hope for the best.”

The Games features 60 different disciplines and has drawn over 3,500 athletes from 104 nations. The event began on July 20 and ends on Sunday, with jiu-jitsu action scheduled for the weekend.

The UAE has six athletes at the event in total. They won a bronze through Cornelia Mihai in canopy piloting. Her teammate Abdulbari Al Qubaisi finished fourth at the same event.