Bahrain’s jiu jitsu superstar Ali Monfaradi’s already bulging medals chest received another coveted addition after the globe-trotting athlete won gold in the Men’s GI/Black/Professional77kg category yesterday in the AJP Tour Asia Continental Jiu Jitsu Championship in Dubai.
And there was even more joy for Monfaradi, who has won more than 200 medals in competitions around the world since earning his black belt in 2017, as two other athletes from his academy picked up a silver and a bronze to round off a successful event for the trio.
“I’m really happy to have won this elusive Asia Continental gold medal,” Monfaradi told the GDN by phone from Dubai.
“The Asia Continental is one of the biggest tournaments in the AJP Tour. It’s a true top-tier tournament, a five-star one, if you will.
“And I’ve never won this medal before because I’ve actually never managed to compete in this tournament until this time. Every year, some logistical issue or something else would prevent me from being able to participate but, this year, I managed to get here and, now, here we are!”
Monfaradi’s opponent in the final was Brazilian Francisco Diego, a familiar foe for the Bahraini who said he gained even more satisfaction from the fact that he defeated the man who had pipped him in another contest just the day before.
“Francisco and I have gone up against each other four times now and, thanks to this victory, we are level at two wins each now,” Monfaradi laughed.
“But it was doubly satisfying to win the gold medal by defeating him because he beat me in the bronze medal match of the Men’s/GI/Black/Master 1/Category just the day before.”
The gold medal also compensated for what he felt was a below-par performance in the Master 1 competition, Monfaradi added.
“The Master competition was a bit of a bust for me,” he continued.
“I mean … I fought well, I had a couple of wins but I felt that I wasn’t getting a good rhythm going.
“But everything turned around for me in the Professional category when I put my head in the game and got this coveted medal.”
Meanwhile, Abdulla Alshaikh, from Monfaradi’s academy, landed a silver medal in the Men’s GI/Blue/Amateur/56kg competition and teammate Salman Khalfan finished with a bronze in the Men’s GI/Purple/Professional/62kg category.
“Both did extremely well,” Monfaradi said. “I’m very proud of them.
“And we would have had more athletes participating in the competition except that the tournament unexpectedly filled up well in advance of the deadline meaning that registration was closed by the time they got around to applying for it.”
As he headed to the airport in the evening to catch a flight back to Bahrain, Monfaradi was willing the journey to be over quickly so he could get home and cradle his young son.
“My little boy, Faris, turned six months old during this event,” he explained.
“That’s why this crazy weekend felt so difficult. It felt extra hard being away from him this time.”