Nass­rati’s re­freshed and go­ing for gold after study break

The National - News - - SPORT - AMITH PASSELA

Khal­ifa Nass­rati says he feels re­freshed and rar­ing to go after tak­ing time away from jiu-jitsu to com­plete his stud­ies and is ready to jus­tify his place in the UAE squad tak­ing part at the JJIF World Cham­pi­onship.

The Emi­rati, 20, took time off com­plete his high school ex­ams, earn­ing a place at UAE Univer­sity in Al Ain where he will study for a de­gree in Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Hu­man Re­sources.

In­jury cur­tailed his come­back, but after some solid per­for­mances in do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tions, the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Fed­er­a­tion named Nass­rati in their squad for the World Cham­pi­onship be­ing held in Abu Dhabi for the first time.

The cham­pi­onship runs at the Mubadala Arena from Novem­ber 16-24. “I’m glad to be back in the na­tional team and this is a big op­por­tu­nity for me to be on the world stage,” he told The Na­tional. “I had a break of around six months be­cause of my stud­ies. Then I had a few in­juries to re­coup. I had to fix my body. The break has done me good both phys­i­cally and men­tally.

“I spent more time in the gym when I came back after the break. I did more phys­i­cal train­ing, as I wanted to get stronger and fit­ter rather than spend­ing more time in jiu-jitsu.

“I started com­pet­ing from Novem­ber 2018. I’m now ready for the World Cham­pi­onship. Hope I can get a good re­sult.”

Nass­rati is known for his iron will and strong char­ac­ter. He com­petes at the top level of jiu-jitsu de­spite be­ing born with con­gen­i­tal birth de­fect that left him with stumped fin­gers on his left hand.

Nass­rati launched his come­back by win­ning a gold medal at the in­au­gu­ral Vice Pres­i­dent’s

Cup, and fol­lowed that up with two sil­vers in the next two rounds. He picked up a second gold medal for the sea­son at the Ras Al Khaimah In­ter­na­tional Pro Cham­pi­onship.

At the Abu Dhabi World Pro­fes­sional Jiu-Jitsu Cham­pi­onship in April, Nass­rati won a sil­ver medal in the 62kg pur­ple belt and fol­lowed that up with gold at the Fu­jairah In­ter­na­tional Pro Cham­pi­onship last month.

“Ac­tu­ally, it’s very hard to di­vide time be­tween stud­ies and jiu-jitsu, es­pe­cially when you have to com­pete at the high­est level,” Nass­rati said. “Nev­er­the­less,

I love the sport and al­ways find so­lu­tions. Jiu-jitsu has taught me time man­age­ment.

“I spend the whole morn­ing study­ing and train in the evenings. After train­ing, I spend a lit­tle time again on my stud­ies be­fore I hit the bed.

“That’s been my routine since I got into univer­sity at the end of last year. I’m ma­ture enough to un­der­stand how valu­able time is for me. I man­age my time more pro­fes­sion­ally by di­vid­ing be­tween stud­ies and jiu-jitsu, and the peo­ple I hang around with.”

Nass­rati is a two-time gold medal­ist at the JJIF Youth Worlds and now wants to make a mem­o­rable first ap­pear­ance in the adult di­vi­sion.

“I’m very ex­cited and look­ing for­ward for this mo­ment,” he said. “I want to win gold be­cause it’s in our land. Com­pet­ing at home in front of our peo­ple ac­tu­ally gives me more con­fi­dence.”

Chris Whi­teoak / The Na­tional

Khal­ifa Nass­rati, right, won the gold medal at last year’s in­au­gu­ral Vice Pres­i­dent’s Cup

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