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Fighting for his ill son, Saudi’s Mohammed Al-Mukhalis wins second world Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu title

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Mukhalis has won the hearts of his compatriots after an emotional gold medal performance at the recent 2022 World Master International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Championship that was dedicated to his ill son, Fahad.

Al-Mukhalis, who won the IBJJF’s world no-gi title in 2021 in Texas, competed in this year’s Men’s Master 2 Blue/Light-Feather category at the Las Vegas Convention Center and won four matches to claim overall victory.

A former employee at Aramco, he moved to Houston, Texas, to ensure medical treatment for Fahad who suffers from a congenital heart and lung deformity. After years of treatment at Saudi hospitals, the youngest of his three sons was transferred to one of the top hospitals in Houston to undergo a lifesaving lung transplant, with help from the Kingdom’s government.

The Saudi champion had previously revealed his son’s suffering, and a tearful post-victory message received widespread sympathy and praise on social media sites, with calls pouring in for Fahad to have a speedy recovery.

“Today, in jiu-jitsu’s biggest gathering, no one has surpassed the Saudi flag, and no one raised their flag above my country’s flag,” he said in a short video clip posted on his Twitter account.

“Thank you to the Saudi people, you have been my best supporters from the beginning until today,” he said. Then he added a moving message to his son. “You promised me, Fahad, that you would not give in to the disease. Please, it is enough, Fahad, my son, do not die.”



Speaking to Arab News, he said his son continues to inspire him to victory.

“In the past year and after obtaining the first world championship, many people thought that I would stop fighting but I had made a promise to Fahad to continue for the second year,” Al-Mukhalis said. “Therefore, for a whole year, I trained for four hours daily and I didn’t give myself a break or any entertainment because I was afraid to fail in front of Fahad.”

“Praise be to Allah who gave me the ability to represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the best way.

“I went to Las Vegas hoping to win the gold for my country and for my sick son, Fahad. I was very lucky to emerge in the first place and raise my country’s flag.”

Al-Mukhalis said he was sad Fahad could not witness his gold-medal win because he was quite sick. Normally the youngster would cheer him from the sidelines.

“My son is my biggest fan and my coach too. He is always by my side while I train and it is a blessing, especially since it is only us here.”

With his wife and two older sons in the Kingdom, Al-Mukhalis carries Fahad’s oxygen cylinder on his shoulder when they head for treatment ahead of the transplant surgery.

Al-Mukhalis spends his free time training on the jiu-jitsu mat.

“I wanted to show that hard work is the key to getting things done, not wishing or dreaming. Today after getting the world championship for the second year in a row I go back to start over because the dream is to reach the sky,” Al-Mukhalis said.

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