JIU-JITSU Al Kirbi com­pletes re­turn from re­tire­ment with gold

The National - News - - SPORT - Amith Passela

Talib Al Kirbi re­turned from re­tire­ment to win his first, and the UAE’s sec­ond, JJIF World Cham­pi­onship gold in the ‘masters’ cat­e­gory yes­ter­day, the Mubadala Arena.

The Emi­rati, 36, emerged vic­to­ri­ous in the 69kg masters-1 fi­nal against Ro­ma­nian Remus Cor­bei on the ref­er­ees’ de­ci­sion af­ter a 0-0 dead­lock.

It capped a great tour­na­ment for the UAE as they topped the medal tally in four cat­e­gories – U18, U21, men’s and ‘masters’.

“My fed­er­a­tion told me I can still con­trib­ute to the UAE and asked me keep train­ing, which I have been do­ing since I made my an­nounce­ment to re­tire,” Al Kirbi said when asked about his re­turn.

“So, I con­tin­ued with my train­ing and here I am win­ning gold for my coun­try. It wasn’t a bad call af­ter all, con­sid­er­ing to­day’s re­sult.”

Al Kirbi an­nounced his re­tire­ment af­ter the Abu Dhabi World Pro­fes­sional Jiu-Jitsu Cham­pi­onship in April hav­ing failed to win the fi­nal for a fourth suc­ces­sive year.

“I wanted to take up an­other role as coach but that will now have to wait,” the double sil­ver medal­list at the 2017 Asian In­door and Mar­tial Arts Games in Ash­ga­bat and Jakarta 2018 Asian Games added.

“This is my third JJIF worlds but first time in masters-1 (for over 35). The first two (in Thai­land

in 2015 and Poland in 2017) were in the men’s di­vi­sion and I couldn’t get into the medal rounds.

“The com­pe­ti­tion in the masters is sim­i­lar to the men’s sec­tion. A ma­jor­ity of the fight­ers are com­ing from the top flight, like me. It’s not easy to win here at this level.

“I had to come through four fights and the fi­nal was the tough­est of them all. How­ever, Al­ham­dulil­lah, I made it by hav­ing bet­ter con­trol on my op­po­nent.”

Obaid Al Kaabi bagged gold for the hosts with vic­tory over Mo­hammed Ab­dul­hameed of Egypt in the 69kg Masters-2.

The UAE rounded off the nine-day cham­pi­onship with 13 gold, 11 sil­ver and 16 bronze medals in the world youth (U21) and ju­niors (U18) cat­e­gories, and three golds in the men’s cat­e­gory. In the Masters sec­tion, they fin­ished with two gold, three sil­ver and four bronze medals.

“This is our best ever re­sult in the JJIF World Cham­pi­onship in terms of medals won,” said the UAE’s Brazil­ian coach Ra­mon Le­mos.

“I told ev­ery­one that we are go­ing to be the best in the world and we have achieved it. I’m so happy.

“We topped the medal ta­ble in an U16 cham­pi­onship in Ro­ma­nia last month and now we have topped the ta­ble in the U18, U21, men’s and masters.

“It has been a mas­sive team ef­fort backed by the UAE fed­er­a­tion. We have one of the best jiu-jitsu pro­grammes in the world and the ath­letes have worked so hard to achieve the re­sults. It’s been a re­mark­able team ef­fort.”

The high­lights of the cham­pi­onship un­doubt­edly were the gold medal won by Faisal Al Ketbi in the men’s 94kg, and the double golds of Omar Al Fadhli and Zayed Al Katheeri, in the men’s and youth 62kg and 56kg, re­spec­tively.

Satish Ku­mar for The Na­tional

Talib Al Kirbi, left, beat Remus Cor­bei of Ro­ma­nia to win gold at the JJIF World Cham­pi­onship in Abu Dhabi

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