Faisal Al Ketbi and Shamma Al Kalbani strike gold as UAE dominates Thailand Open Grand Prix

UAE added five more medals on second day, raising overall tally to an impressive 20

Abu Dhabi, May 23, 2023:  The UAE national jiu-jitsu team emerged champions in the prestigious Thailand Open Grand Prix 2023, earning an impressive total of 20 medals during the competitions held in Bangkok. The team, sponsored by Mubadala Investment Company, displayed clear dominance in the fiercely contested fights on both days it participated.

The team had a wonderful run at the championship as they amassed 9 golds, 7 silvers, and 4 bronzes. As the competitions wrapped up on Sunday, the UAE secured five medals, adding to the 15 they had already harvested on the opening day. Faisal Al Ketbi (94kg) and Shamma Al Kalbani (63kg), the star athletes of the national squad, lived up to the high expectations and emerged victorious, claiming gold medals.

Saeed Al Kubaisi (85kg) and Abdullah Al-Kubaisi (94kg) also contributed to the team's success by securing silver medals, further elevating the celebration. Additionally, Hazaa Farhan won a bronze medal in the 94kg division.

“The remarkable performance of the UAE national team is a clear testament to the valuable initiatives implemented by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and nurtured by His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council. Their dedicated efforts are now bearing fruit, as evidenced by the team's success. The team's ultimate ambition is to stand atop the podium and secure even more victories,” said His Excellency Abdul Munam Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, President of the Asian Jiu-Jitsu Union, and Senior Vice President of the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation.

“The Thailand Grand Prix tournament was a unique opportunity to measure the development in the performance of athletes before participating in the World Championships in Mongolia and the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, and they have proved to be strong contenders,” he added.

Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, Secretary-General of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, also praised the remarkable brilliance of the team. “Of the 24 athletes who participated from the UAE side, 20 have won medals. These numbers reflect the importance of achievement,” he said.

“This year, the team has already achieved more than 50 medals during the first five months, starting with the Asian Championship in Bangkok, followed by the Paris Open Grand Prix and now the Thailand Open Grand Prix. We have six more international events remaining in the season, including the Asian Games and World Championships, and I can’t wait to see the UAE team shine brightly in those championships,” he added.

Yasser Al-Qubaisi, the administrator of the national jiu-jitsu team, highlighted the significance of the team's participation in the Thailand Grand Prix tournament as an opportunity to compete against the world's elite athletes. “We were eager to include several new talents who recently joined the national team, and they have shown great enthusiasm and determination. They have proven themselves to be just as dedicated as the experienced athletes. We are confident that they have the capability to further develop, progress, and gain valuable experience,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Faisal Al-Ketbi expressed his happiness and attributed the medal glory to the visionary leadership of the UAE. He stated, “These accomplishments are a direct result of the unwavering support from our wise leadership and the tireless efforts of the UAEJJF led by His Excellency Abdul Munam Al Hashemi. Their guidance has propelled us towards success, allowing us to achieve championships and establish the UAE's global leadership in the sport.”

Elsewhere, Shamma Al Kalbani expressed her enthusiasm and motivation to continue striving for success. She stated, “The Thailand Open Grand Prix has undoubtedly played a significant role in enhancing my technical expertise and experience. I am deeply indebted and grateful to my coaches and teammates for their unwavering support and guidance. Their encouragement keeps me motivated to perform well, win medals, and represent our nation with pride at international events.”