Whilst Day 1 may have seen Ukraine and Ireland take the headlines, Day 2 was undeniably the day of the UAE. His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, was in attendance, bearing witness to this next generation of mixed martial artists displaying their talent.
Women’s 52 KG competitor, Zamzam Al Hammadi, put on a series of increasingly impressive performances, culminating with her gold medal-winning masterclass in front of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
Zamzam Al Hammadi’s victory represented a landmark in the evolution of MMA in the United Arab Emirates, as she became the first female champion in the nation’s history.
Ghala Al Hammadi quickly followed up her countrywoman’s success, claiming her own gold medal. Ghala also picked up a lightning-fast armbar in the group stages, the fastest in IMMAF women’s Youth MMA history.
Team Ukraine still deserves their plaudits, as once again they sit atop the medal table. Their efforts on Day 2 were spearheaded by 2022 Youth World Champion, Oleksii Bolbochan, who claimed gold for a second time. Polina Kovyrnova and Albina Demidova also picked up gold medals, firmly entrenching Ukraine as the most successful nation in the competition so far.
Day 2 represented a marked improvement for Europe, as Team Ireland continued to impress, with Katie Power capturing gold for her country, and dark horses Poland moving into the medal table with two gold medals of their own, courtesy of Ksawery Mosing and Aleksander Szmaj. Spain and Bulgaria were also victorious, claiming a gold medal apiece.
Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and the USA claimed the remaining gold medals. USA’s Lariah Gill was expected by many to capture a third successive IMMAF Youth gold medal, but came up short, instead settling for bronze. However, her teammate Bridget Costner was able to secure a gold medal, defeating Briana Sanchez in an all-American final.
A full list of medallists from Day 2 of the 2023 Youth World Championships can be found right here.