The Path of the Warrior: Khaled Alshehhi’s rise to ADGS gold in his hometown
May 23, 2023
“Only you can decide how far you will go”, opens up 19-year-old Khaled Alshehhi, talking about his path to becoming one of the main players of the UAE National Team as a black belt. His arduous journey to glory started with a few bumps, but in the end, after overcoming his own doubts and relying on his hardcore training with the team, he found the way to reach success. Despite this achievement, Khaled says that he has yet to reach the point he’s aiming for in his career as an elite Jiu-Jitsu fighter.
His first steps as a black belt competitor came in the ADGS Sydney, which took place in February. The Emirati athlete’s hunt for gold ended in his second round, with a loss for Leonardo Mario. At that point in time, Khaled had his black belt for about three months.
“It was my first time competing in the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam as a black belt and it wasn’t something I really planned for”, recalls Khaled. “It was sudden and, even back then, I felt like I wasn’t fully prepared.”
Khaled would have another shot in the following month, with the ADGS London. On March 12th, Khaled once again stepped on AJP mats with his head held high and determined to come out as the winner. With his technical prowess, he defeated two opponents in the bracket but ended up outmatched in the semifinals. After beating two more opponents, Khaled walked out of the Copper Box Arena with two things: A bronze medal and the burning desire to win the next ADGS, which would take place in his hometown of Abu Dhabi.
“In London, I fixed many of the mistakes I made in Australia, but it still wasn’t enough. I was more prepared and determined to win, but I still made mistakes and was only able to secure third place. In Abu Dhabi, however, I was super focused. I reviewed all my past fights to fix my mistakes and studied my opponents. When I completed my preparations, I was ready to win.”
And win he did. On May 7th, Khaled showed the fruits of his efforts in the under 62kg bracket. After outscoring two opponents, the Emirati went toe-to-toe against Jefferson Fagundes in the final and, after a balanced duel that lasted the entirety of the regulated time, Khaled Alshehhi was crowned an ADGS champion in his hometown.
Despite the recent win, Khaled assures that he doesn’t intend to rest on his laurels. Not only is he gunning for the Abu Dhabi World Pro and considering a shift to No-Gi in the future, but he is still making time for his studies. When asked what was the greatest lesson he had learned throughout his journey, this is what he had to say:
“Always chase your dreams. Never give up on your goals because, as long as you keep fighting, there’s a chance. Only you can decide how far you will go.”