Zealous participants, ardent coaches and enthusiastic audience gathered today for the fifth day of the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival.
The Festival was open to all nationalities, for the first-time ever in the Championship, and witnessed world’s leading professional athletes from the female kids’ category (4-17), male and female in the Adult (18 and above) white belt categories as well as male and female Masters (31 and over) tournaments at Mubadala Arena, Zayed Sports City.
Senior government officials and high-level dignitaries in attendance were Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh; Chairman, Abu Dhabi Global Market, Abdulmonem Al Hashemi, Chairman of UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF); Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Advisor to the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Education and Knowledge Department; Mohammed Bin Dalmouk Al Dhaheri, UAEJJF Board Member and Renzo Gracie, Black-belt from Brazil’s Gracie family.
Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber said that the sport of Jiu-Jitsu is not an ordinary one, rather one that entails a culture that shares a lot in common with our traditions in the UAE, such as the values of wisdom, patience and persistence, which is why it has rapidly spread in our local community and has a positive impact on the society, particularly younger generations.
He added that the success of this sport is a result of the wise leadership’s vision to spread this sport and reinforce Abu Dhabi’s position as the capital of Jiu-Jitsu that is capable of hosting some of the world’s largest sports events.
With the first four days of the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival dedicated to Emirati competitors, this was the first time the Festival was open to international participants. Thousands of spectators who have arrived in Abu Dhabi from around the world cheered on as they witnessed passionate international players competing for the top spot across the wide range of categories. The audience, complete with families, friends, guardians and Jiu-Jitsu enthusiasts, emanated merriment and support to the players on the ground.
The diversity among competing players and the spectrum of international audience present at Mubadala Arena is a testament to the UAEJJF’s commitment in hosting an all-round day, complete with activities for the whole family to experience. Among the range of players were Dubai Police, who have participated in the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship for the first-time ever.
Commenting on the Festival, Samira Al Rumaithi, UAEJJF Board Member and Jiu-Jitsu black-belt who has been practicing the sport for ten years said, "The level of participation by athletes has grown significantly year on year, so has the public attendance and viewership. We have been witnessing advanced techniques among players, including the youth championships. The leadership’s commitment in supporting Jiu-Jitsu has been instrumental in its activation as an extracurricular activity in schools." "I’m also pleased to note the surge in female participation in Jiu-Jitsu. It’s impressive to see high standards being set across all levels and among all age-groups. We are breaking barriers in the global sports industry. The inclusion of more women in tournaments and the integration of Jiu-Jitsu in schools has also had a significant impact, with the integral values of the sport visible in daily lives." The results for the female category (4-17) were announced with UAE nationals as the highlights of the day: Sara Saud in the 40 kg teen category, Nora Khamis in the 44kg juvenile category and Fatima Salem in the 40 kg junior category.
For the male and female in the Adult (18 and above) white belt categories as well as male and female Masters (31 and above) categories, Rose Manof from Kyrgzstan won the 56 kg weight, while Pia Yvonnen from Finland won the 49 kg Master 1, Mikhail Shoshev from Russia won the Master 2 in 69 kg, Renato Gonzalez from Australia won the Masters 3 at 69 kg and Jalil Kharaji from Iran won the 77 kg in Master 4 category.
Renzo Gracie from Brazil’s Gracie family who was present at the Festival said, "Every year I see Abu Dhabi delivering remarkable Jiu-Jitsu competitions and I see the passion in Emirati players. I believe Abu Dhabi is truly making its mark as the capital of Jiu-Jitsu. I’m also looking forward to attending the King of Mats which will be very exciting to watch, and an apt way to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship."
UAE player Reem Al Qubaisi, 12, who has been playing for the past 4 years said that her participation in the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival is a source of pride for her, and serves as a motivation to enhance her capabilities and skills in the sport.
She commented, "This is my second participation in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship and I have been practicing heavily for a long time now, with the first place as my goal. This Championship is a great platform that allows me to refine my techniques as well as interact with other professional players who are joining us from around the world."
While Sara Al Rumhi, 13 year old UAE player competing in the White Belt category said that her participation in this Championship is a vital step in her athletic development as a competitor. "I look forward to the Championship and hope to bring home a gold medal. It would be an amazing achievement, given that this is the Bronze Jubilee of the Competition coinciding with the Year of Zayed."
In preparation for the upcoming sixth day of the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival tomorrow, Abdelmoneim Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, and President of the Jiu-Jitsu Asian Union and Senior Vice-President of Jiu-Jitsu International Federation, met with 61 participating Para Jiu-Jitsu players and wished them the best of luck.
© Copyright 2019 Emirates News Agency (WAM)