Saudi Olympic hero Tarek Hamidi takes karate gold at 3rd Gulf Games

© Saudi Arabia Olympic & Paralympic Committee
© Saudi Arabia Olympic & Paralympic Committee

Kuwait City, Kuwait, May 31, 2022: Saudi Arabia’s Olympic silver medallist Tarek Hamidi put the icing on the karate cake for the Kingdom as he won the gold medal in the men’s kumite +84kg category on the last day of the 3rd Gulf Games on Tuesday, May 31.

Hamidi, who won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the +75kg class, rounded off a fine display by Saudi Arabia who finished the karate competition winning four gold medals from the six kumite weight categories.

The 23-year-old Hamidi, who was also crowned champion at the Asian Championship last December in Kazakhstan, had to draw on all his skills to ward off a spirited challenge from hometown favourite Mohammad Al-Mejadi before prevailing 2-1 in the final bout of the day at the Sheikh Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Hall.

Hamidi’s compatriot Fahad Al-Khathami had stopped the hosts from running away with the spoils on the mat, when earlier in the evening he halted Kuwaiti Mousa Hassan 8-4 to win the gold medal in the -67 kg final.

The momentum had all been with the home team spurred on by the drums and cheers of raucous fans as they won the first two gold medals of the day – Soltan Al-Mutairi winning 3-0 over Saudi Arabia’s Yasir Bargi in the -55kg, and Abdullah Shaaban defeating Saudi Bader Al-Otaibi, 4-2 in the -60kg class.

It was left to Fahad Al-Khathami to halt the Kuwaiti onslaught and with the help of two Ippons, he vanquished his opponent in the -67kg final to inject belief into the Saudi camp.

It worked wonders as Faraj Al-Nashri strolled to a comfortable 6-1 win over Bahrain’s Salem Al-Juma, leaving Hamidi to add the finishing touches. Saudi Arabia’s fourth gold medal came from Sultan Al-Zahrani who won the -75kg class which was decided on a round-robin basis as there were only three entries. Al-Zahrani won both his bouts to claim the gold medal.

Kuwait finished the karate event with three gold medals, having claimed the solitary kata event courtesy of Sayed Mohammed on Sunday.