All eyes on Sergiu Toma as UAE confident of extending Asian Games medal tally
The UAE hope to round off their most successful Asian Games campaign by adding a few more medals to their tally in judo, showjumping and sailing.
They have so far accumulated 12 medals – three gold, six silver and three bronze – at the 18th iteration of the continental spectacle being held in Indonesia. Their previous best was 10 medals, including three gold, four silver and three bronze, at the Doha Games in 2006.
Nine of those 12 medals won in Jakarta and Palembang came from jiu-jitsu, and the general secretary of the UAE Wrestling, Judo and Kick Boxing Federation believes the trio of judokas are capable of sweeping their respective categories.
“It’s hard to predict results, but we are expecting three medals from our three judokas,” Naser Al Tamimi said.
Sergiu Toma, bronze medallist at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, will compete in the 90-kilogram division. Fellow Olympians Victor Scvortov and Ivan Remarenco will fight in the 73kg and 100kg, respectively.
Scvortov will face an as yet unnamed opponent in the round of 16 on Thursday at the Jakarta Convention Centre after receiving a first-round bye.
Toma and Remarenco came through their qualifiers and will be in action in the round of 16 on Friday.
Toma meets Shakhbodzek Sabirov of Uzbekistan and Remarenco is up against India's Avtar Singh.
“Japan and Korea are the traditional powerhouses in the sport in Asia, but they are not invincible. Aside from that, there is more than one medal to be won in each weight division,” Al Tamimi pointed out.
“All three of our judokas are very experienced. They have been around in the world circuit for a long time to know what it takes to win medals.”
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The showjumping quartet led by Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum are out to challenge for medals in the individual event, also on Thursday.
“Our horses had a good day’s break and will be fresh for the final competition,” said Sheikh Latifa, who rides the 10-year-old grey horse Cobolt 8. “We are hopeful as always with all four of our riders still in the race to challenge for medals.
Sheikha Latifa is one of the most experienced riders at the Games, having won silver in the team event at the Doha Games and two silvers in the team and individual at the Incheon Games four years ago.
Also carrying the UAE’s hopes are Hamad Al Kirbi atop Quel Caadan Z, Nadia Taryam aboard Cortado and Mohammed Al Rumaithi on Denitha.
Meanwhile, three Emirati sailors will feature in the medal round on Friday. Ali Al Hamza is in the final round of the Laser Standard, and Saif Al Mansoori and Salama Al Mansoori are vying for honours in the Laser 4.7.