Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 12 December 2019

Wadima Al Yafei is one of UAE's golden girls in the JJIF World Junior and Youth Championships

Emirati females top the medals table with nine golds, 10 silvers and 15 bronze at the Mubadala Arena

Wadima Al Yafei, left, on her way to gold at the Mubadala Arena on Saturday. Courtesy UAEJJF
Wadima Al Yafei, left, on her way to gold at the Mubadala Arena on Saturday. Courtesy UAEJJF

The Emirati females topped the medals table with nine golds, 10 silvers and 15 bronze in the JJIF World Junior and Youth Championships at the Mubadala Arena on Saturday.

They won eight finals in the U18 age category while Wadima Al Yafei clinched the solitary gold in the U21 division for the host to rack up a rich haul of 34 medals.

Al Yafei, who became the first Emirati female to win a medal in an international competition when she won bronze at the Asian Beach Games in Vietnam in 2016, was the toast of the squad.

“Actually, I’m feeling good as the only Emirati female to win gold in the U21,” she said after winning all her fights by submissions in the 49-kilogram weight.

“It’s just making proud of myself. It shows what I was training for and what I was trying to achieve.

“I was telling myself I will win gold. I was looking at the podium and thinking my fight are going to be easy. I actually achieved what I wanted,

“I finished all my fights by submissions which was good. It was my mission to win by submission and win gold.”

Al Yafei, 19, will also compete in the adult division along with Noura Al Harmoudi and Mariam Al Ameri.

“Tonight’s success has given me extra strength and motivation when I compete in the adult division,” she said.

“I want to see the UAE flag raised in the world championship. It gives me goose bumps even when I think of it. It will be a fulfilment for me for all the efforts I put in day in and day out.

Al Yafei’s UAE teammates Bashayer Al Matrooshi and Mahra Al Hanaei had to settle for silver and bronze in the U21 division 63kg and 52kg weights respectively.

“It is very hard for me to settle for second best because I was leading until the last minute before a mistake cost me the gold,” Al Matrooshi said after going down to Poland’s Sylwia Wierzbowska.

“I won the first fight by submission and the semi-final by points, and I was winning the final but then I don’t know what happened. Perhaps I was lost concentration.”

Al Hanaei conceded she was outclassed and overpowered her opponent Alicja Typulkowska of Poland.

“She had more power and was stronger than me,” Al Hanaei, the silver medallist at the 2018 Asian Games, said.

“She won through her power more than the technique. Had I got more power as she had, then the result could have been different. I tried my best though, but it wasn’t my destiny to win tonight. Insha Allah, next time.

“I was coming after a month’s break having injured my arm at the Grand Slam Los Angeles [in September] but that’s not to say I wasn’t prepared. I have been training with the squad for the last two weeks. I’m not very happy with the result but I’ll take what I achieved.”

Updated: November 17, 2019 11:31 AM

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