Faisal Al Ketbi is confident the UAE to make a good impression when Jiu Jitsu makes its debut in the Asian Beach Games that gets underway in Phuket, Thailand.
The UAE have 11 fighters entered, including one female, among the 16 countries vying for honours in the fourth staging of the Games on Wednesday and Thursday.
Faisal Al Ketbi, the only Emirati black belt in jiu jitsu, says the team is well prepared to return with a decent medal haul.
“We are very excited and looking forward for the competition to begin,” he said. “We still don’t know what is in store for us but ready our opponents with confidence.
“Most of us in the team are quite experienced and have trained very hard for the UAE to make a good impression at the Games which sees jiu jitsu for the first time.
“I will do everything within my capacity to win and would expect all my teammates to do so. We want to win as many medals as possible for the UAE.”
The Emirati men have all travelled abroad for competitions and training camps except for the sole female fighter Shifa Hassan.
“I feel this is a great opportunity for me to win a medal for my country abroad,” she said.
“Obviously I expect tough competition but I am prepared for the task ahead. I want to portray the Emirati women in sports and hopefully see my country’s flag fly high at the Games.”
According to Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, chief executive of the UAE Jiu Jitsu Federation, are one of the best prepared squads with everyone with experience of participating in international competitions both locally and abroad, including the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championships.
“With that kind of experience I would expect all of them to fare well,” he said. “Of course nothing will come easy in competitions but I believe the UAE squad has all that is needed to perform well and win at least three to four gold medals.
“They have good backing from the federation, they are provided with the best training facilities and coaching staff. So I don’t see why they can’t be successful in this competition.”
The Asian Beach Games at the popular tourist resort in Patong has drawn more than 2,700 athletes and over 1,700 judges and referees across 26 different sporting disciplines from November 12 to 21.
The UAE team:
Faisal Fahad Al Ketbi (Black belt) 90kgs
Saeed Ali Humaid Al Shamsi (white) 60kgs
Eid Raihan Salem (purple) 120 kgs
Mohammed Darwish Al Nuaimi (white) 113kgs
Taleb Saleh Al Karbi (brown) 74kgs
Saud Abdullah Al Hammadi (blue) 78kgs
Zayed Rashid Obaid Al Kaabi (purple) 90kgs
Khalfan Humaid Bilhual (blue) 82kgs
Ahmed Ghuloom Mazmi (brown) 65kgs
Ali Salem (purple) 70kgs
Shifa Hassan (white) 74kgs