Formidable Ukraine Tops Medals Table as Riyadh 2023 Reaches Half-Time

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – With 16 gold, 9 silver, and 6 bronze medals, Team Ukraine has established a formidable lead atop the medals table at the Riyadh 2023 World Combat Games as the event reached its midway mark.

The medal parade continued on Day 6 with the Ukrainians particularly dominant in Wrestling, where 15 of their 31 medals have come so far.

In full-contact Pankration and semi-contact Pankration Athlima, Ukrainian athletes struck gold in six separate men’s and women’s weight categories.

In the men’s competition, Ukrainians Oleksandr Huliaiev won the 71kg, Kyrylo Horobets emerged victorious in the 84kg, Roman Kiziuk took the 92kg, and Bohdan Hnidko claimed the 100kg. Ali Guliyev of Azerbaijan snapped the streak by clinching gold in the 66kg division.

“The feeling I have [after winning two gold medals] is indescribable,” said Ukraine’s Roman Kiziuk, who also won gold in the men’s Grappling 92kg earlier in the competition. “I want to thank all those who helped me in training, my coaches, and I am very grateful to my parents for their support. They know this result all started with them.”

In women’s Pankration, Anna Baezhenar of Ukraine claimed the 53kg title, while Khilola Sobirova of Uzbekistan emerged as the winner in the 57kg. Ukrainian Daria Chibisova earned the top spot in the 65kg, with Germany’s Lorena Nicole Cubero Gamero securing gold in the 70kg. In the 80kg, Madeline Alyce Shellman of the USA topped the podium.


With over 600 years of heritage, Ju-Jitsu is a martial art emphasizing self-defence. Day 6 highlighted Ju-Jitsu Fighting and Ne-Waza. The former is a contemporary style with a wide array of techniques, from strikes to throws and groundwork. Ne-Waza focuses on ground grappling, using pins, joint locks, and strangles to immobilize an opponent.

The winner of the women’s Ne-Waza -52 kg category was Jenna Kaila Napolis of the Philippines, while the -70 kg saw Denise Kruahn of Germany take the gold. In the +70kg, Colombia’s Laura Valentina Castillo will return home from Riyadh as World Combat Games champion.

In the men’s competition, Lukas Bombik of Germany took gold in the Fighting -94 kg division. In the +94 kg, Kunathip Yea-On of Thailand placed first. Khaled Alshehhi of the UAE won the -62 kg Ne-Waza category, while Abdulmalik Al Murdhi of Saudi Arabia took second.


Kickboxing kicked of its three days of competition at Riyadh 2023 with athletes showcasing their skills in the disciplines of Low Kick and Point Fighting. In Low Kick, competitors aim for powerful strikes to their opponent’s legs, while Point Fighting focuses on quick, controlled hits to score points. Day 1 marked the start of the qualifying rounds, with the semifinals scheduled for Day 2.


Aikido wrapped up its time in Riyadh with eight demonstration teams, including a Saudi Arabian Team and a Japanese Team, performing alongside Aikido Fundamentals, Advanced Aikido, Para Aikido, Aikido Experts, Shihan and Doho Cho. Known for its use of alternating attacks and defences, the martial art of Aikido does not have gender or weight classifications.


Fencing made its first appearance here at Riyadh 2023, showcasing its distinct Épée and Sabre styles. Épée emphasizes precise thrusts across the body, while Sabre combines slashes and thrusts above the waist. Fans enjoyed thrilling bouts, noting the different scoring methods: Épée’s simultaneous hits and Sabre’s right of way.

In the women’s individual Sabre event, Saudi Arabia’s Danah Alqahtani took the gold. The silver went to Alhsna Alhammad, also representing the host city. Rounding off the podium with the bronze medals were Ruba Almasri, also from Saudi Arabia, and Mahra Ali of the UAE.

In the women’s individual Épée competition, Zainab Alhosani of the UAE placed first, followed in second by Saudis Fawzya Alkhibiri in second and Nada Abed and Dhay Alamiri in joint third.

Gold and silver in the men’s Épée individual competition were claimed by Saudi Arabia’s Jawad Aldawood and Faisal Abed, respectively, while the winner of the men’s individual Sabre was their countryman Adel Almutairi.

About the World Combat Games:

The World Combat Games are an international multi-sport event featuring the best athletes in combat sports and martial arts. They were established to celebrate the athletes and values of these sports in one place, and to expose them to an international audience. The World Combat Games concept aims for a compact and manageable event that offers cities an opportunity for focused international promotion, engagement with local communities (in particular young people), and the advancement of public health and wellness agendas through inspiring initiatives encouraging participation in combat sports.

In total, over 1,500 athletes from 120+ countries are competing in 16 martial arts and combat sports at Riyadh 2023.

Interested in watching the World Combat Games? Check out the full list of broadcasters in 100+ countries and territories here. The competition is also being live-streamed on the Riyadh 2023 World Combat Games’ official website.