Sport Weekly

Going for gold

May 23 - May 29, 2024
Gulf Weekly Going for gold
Gulf Weekly Going for gold

MARTIAL arts champion Ali Monfaradi will be the only Bahraini athlete to take part in the annual Vice President’s Jiu Jitsu Cup to be hosted in the UAE next month.

This year, the 30-year-old will represent the Abu Dhabi-based Baniyas Club alongside other Emirati and international team mates as they fight for the cup at Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club.

Monfaradi will participate in the men’s under-69kg division.

“I’m going with peace of mind and a clear conscience,” Monfaradi told GulfWeekly, “but also I understand that I’ve been hired for a reason, and the club has expectations because they want your rank and they get the team cup in this prestigious event. While I cannot definitively predict that I will get gold, I certainly will not accept anything less than that.”

While the excitement is at its peak, this isn’t Monfaradi’s first time participating in the Vice President’s Jiu Jitsu Cup. Last year and the year before, he represented Aljazira Club and bagged consecutive silvers in the men’s under-77kg division.

“Being a lower weight division, I would hold more of a size and strength advantage,” the Hamala resident noted, speaking about his decision to change to the men’s under-69kg division this year.

Monfaradi’s participation in the UAE comes at the heels of his golden victory at the eighth Jiu-Jitsu Asian Championship held at Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, this month.

The owner and head coach of Elements Jiu-Jitsu Academy struck gold, his sixth in the Asian Championships, retaining his rank as number one in the world in the men’s under-77kg division. His victory put Bahrain in third position among the Arab countries and sixth in Asia.

“Being number one means I couldn’t fight in the first round,” Monfaradi explained, adding that he started in the second round with one of his toughest fights yet. Monfaradi won 4-2 against Kazakhstan’s Seiilkhan Bolatbek.

The next match, which was both ‘physically and technically’ daunting, saw the kingdom’s Jiu-Jitsu star go head to head against Korea’s Gyoseong Lee and win 6-4.

In the semi-finals, Monfaradi fought Thailand’s Chanwit Aunjai and, despite his opponent having a size advantage, the match ended in a submission in less than a minute, propelling Monfaradi to the finals, which he fought against Kazakhstan’s Olzhas Nurtakanov ending in a submission.

“Every year, the level of fighting is getting insanely higher, and the sport is getting more and more professional,” he added, speaking about his experience in Abu Dhabi.

The Vice President’s Jiu Jitsu Cup will take place from June 1 to 2.

Follow Monfaradi’s upcoming Dubai adventure @alimonfaradi on Instagram.

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