Ali Munfaredi yesterday (Monday) gave Bahrain its maiden medal at the Fifth edition of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
Munfaredi put on a solid show in the jiu jitsu’s under-77kg weight category at the Martial Arts Arena to win the competition’s gold medal after a closely-fought 2-0 win over contender Hamzeh Al Rasheed of Jordan in the final bout.
Son of team coach Reza Munfaredi, the 23-year-old Bahraini kicked his campaign beating Murtazali Murtazaliev of Kyrgyzstan 99-0 in a one-sided quarter-final bout. He marched on winning his semi-final clash with Iran’s Davar Mansoori 99-0 to set up his final with the Jordanian opponent.
In the same weight category, Bahrain’s Ahmed Shebeeb overpowered Nurlan Yespolov of Kazakhstan to secure the bronze medal.
Three more Bahrainis were in action in other weight sections, but saw their medal dreams go up in smoke after failing to reach the advanced stages of their respective contests.
Najid Al Gosaibi came close towards securing podium for Bahrain, but his unhder-85kg repechage final bout against Kazakhstan’s Kuandyk Yesseneyev ended for the latter by disqualification.
Ali Ebrahim was also on verge of a third medal for Bahrain yesterday, only to lose his under-85kg quarter-final bout to Turkmenistan’s Mergen Jorayew 0-18, while Bahrain’s other fighter Mohamed Abudrees bowed to Banpot Lertthaisong of Thailand 0-16 in his under-69kg opening bout.
Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation president and Bahrain chef de mission Shaikh Faisal bin Rashid Al Khalifa congratulated the jiu jitsu team on the medals victory and wished them progress in their next challenges.
Elsewhere, the three-member taekwondo team will face their maiden challenge today in three different weight categories.
Jumana Mohammed will take on Thai opponent Kanjana Sukeewas in her under-75kg’s last-16 round fight. Juwana, the younger sister of Jumana, will be in action tomorrow when she takes on Thai opponent Nguyen Ha of Vietnam in another last-16 round fight in the under-62kg weight group.
Bahrain’s third team member Walaa Al Doseri heads into her opening women’s under-57-kg fight the following day when she clashes with Chimi Dolma of Bhutan.
The trio Bahrainis are being coached by Tawfeeq Nuwaiser of Jordan, who earlier described the event is an important opportunity for his young players to obtain more experience, improve their skills and rating.
Nine strong athletes are spearheading the Kingdom of Bahrain in three sports disciplines – jiu jitsu, taekwondo and wrestling – at this 12-day games, being organised for the first time in a central Asian country.?