Alaa Hasan, Bahrain’s rising young female jiu jitsu star, picked up two gold medals in the AJP Tour Africa Continental Jiu Jitsu Championship 2023 – Amateurs and Masters – GI and NO-GI in Cairo, Egypt, over the weekend.
The 23-year-old marketing graduate, who participated in her first international jiu jitsu competition just last year, already had six gold and two silver medals coming into this tournament and wasted no time in adding two more to her rapidly growing collection.
“This is a really good feeling,” Hasan, who competed in the blue belt division as part of a team from Bahraini jiu jitsu academy, Elements, told the GDN happily by phone from Cairo.
“I had two matches in the GI category and one in NO-GI and won all three! It felt good because I didn’t do well in my last competition, which was in Saudi Arabia, so my confidence had been dented a bit.
“But I promised myself that I wouldn’t let that pull me down and that I would bounce back … and here I am!”
In her first fight, Hasan was pitted against Egyptian Ola Adnan in the semi-final of the Women’s GI/Blue/Amateur/55kg category which she won by submission.
In the final, she faced off against Saudi athlete Laama Al Madani, who had subdued her semi-final opponent, Rawan Maher, also from Egypt, on points.
The final lasted slightly longer than Hasan’s semi-final, which had ended in a shade under two minutes but, after two minutes and 34 seconds, it was the Bahraini woman who emerged victorious, again by submission, to clinch her first gold in the competition.
Soon, it was time for her third fight of the day, this time in the final of the Women’s NO-GI/Blue/Amateur/55kg division.
Hasan’s opponent, this time, was Maher, who seemed determined to make up for her loss in the semi-final of the GI competition.
But the Bahraini athlete proved too good for the Egyptian with Hasan winning her third straight encounter by submission, this time in slightly under three minutes.
“Like I said, it feels good,” Hasan, who is working towards earning her black belt and wants to be the first Bahraini woman to become a black belt jiu jitsu world champion, said.
“But I have to continue to work hard when I get back to Bahrain because I will only have the chance to participate in two or three small regional competitions before the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championship 2023 begins on November 1.
“And that’s the big prize, in every sense of the word. I have my sights set on doing well in that tournament so my performance here in Cairo has been a good shot in the arm.
“But there’s lots of hard work to be done before I head into the World Pro! Thankfully, my job as a coach at the academy for which I’m competing here in Cairo enables me to train well so, hopefully, I’ll be in even better fighting trim when November rolls around.”