World’s elite athletes return to Abu Dhabi for annual World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

World’s elite athletes return to Abu Dhabi for annual World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship
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Published February 27th, 2017 - 17:24 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Photo: Emirates News Agency
Photo: Emirates News Agency
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The 9th successive Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, will be returning to the IPIC Arena, Zayed Sports City from 10th to 23rd of April 2017.

As the pinnacle of sporting championships, the event was officially launched today by organisers, the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, in front of the world’s media, sporting professionals, dignitaries, sponsors and special guests, in what is set to be a key highlight of this year’s sporting calendar. Speaking at the official launch press conference of this great event were Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, Chief Executive Office of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation; Aref Al Awani , Secretary-General of Abu Dhabi Sports Council; Mohamed Salem Al Dhaheri, Executive Director of School Operations, Abu Dhabi Education Council; Hamad Al Ahbabi, Acting Director of Business Support on behalf of IPIC; Yaqoob Alsaadi, Head of Abu Dhabi Sports Channels; and Fouad Darwish, General Manager at Palm Sports.

The ninth edition of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship will welcome back the world’s elite to the recognised ‘home of Jiu-Jitsu’ for two weeks of gripping competition. More than 7,000 competitors from over 100 countries will descend on Abu Dhabi to fight it out for world titles and cash prizes of up to AED 3 million.

Fahad Ali Al Shamsi said of the 2017 event: "Since its inception, the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship has gone from strength to strength and is gaining prestige on the world stage. This year we will see even more participants than ever take to the mats of the IPIC Arena across the two weeks of competition, which is a testament to the competition’s growth.'' "For example, since 2013 the number of athlete’s competing in the Championship has grown on average 32 percent year-on-year with a fantastic overall growth of 596 percent. Specifically, in the UAE we now have over 250 UAE players competing, which equates to annual growth of 44 percent. We are proud to play a part in motivating aspiring Jiu-Jitsu players at local and international levels and we are committed to developing the sport across the Emirates.

"Not only this, over the past several years we have seen enormous interest in Jiu-Jitsu itself worldwide. Our attendance has peaked to over 31,000 which is an average year-on-year growth of 44 percent since 2013.

"The UAE’s commitment to Jiu-Jitsu over the years has undoubtedly strengthened its position as a global leader within the sport and we look forward to seeing that develop in future years to come." All eyes will be on the championship this April as millions of people across the globe tune-in to watch their favourite competing athletes battle it out on the floor. The competition will be broadcast on Abu Dhabi Sports Channels across the region, as well as live-streamed online and the official UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation social media channels.

Yaqoob Al Saadi expressed Abu Dhabi Media’s firm commitment to covering the international pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship, which affirms Abu Dhabi’s position as the capital of the sport year after year.

"This Championship is one of the most important sporting events, which Abu Dhabi Sports Channels is always keen to cover with the highest standards of professionalism and objectivity using the latest in international best practices and broadcasting technologies," he said.

Al Saadi also stressed that Abu Dhabi Sports has made the necessary preparations for covering the championship from the beginning of April, and has allocated a dedicated channel 24/7 that will air programmes, documentary films, exclusive interviews and other segments both locally and internationally.

Al Saadi noted that Abu Dhabi Sports works side-by-side with the Jiu-Jitsu Federation, officials and all stakeholders in order for the sport to attain Olympic recognition after successfully contributing to its inclusion in the World Beach Olympic Games in San Diego, the Asian Beach Games, the World Indoor Championship and the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.

For the first time ever, the contest will hold a dedicated Para-Jiu-Jitsu event and competition for players with disabilities and special needs. This comes as part of a the UAEJJF’s social responsibility pledge in the 2017 ‘Year of Giving’, which also includes partnerships with initiatives such as the national health initiative ‘Jasadak Amana’ (Your body is your responsibility) and the UAE Food Bank. Workshops will also run alongside the event covering CSR topics such as the environment, social responsibility, culture, and education, demonstrating that the event offers far more than a Jiu-Jitsu championship and will inspire the community to leave a lasting legacy.

Kicking off the world event is the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival and after its success in 2016, the Festival is set to return bigger than ever with new extended dates from 10th to 15th April. The festival is an opportunity for members of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and loyalty card-holders under the age of 18, plus white belts and members of the military, to compete in a world professional environment against their peers.

Following the Festival, The Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship takes place on 16th and 17th April. This is where the next generation of professional players will once again compete in the state-of-the-art arena for two days of inspirational competition with the chance to add points to their 2016-2017 season.

The youth activities at the event aim to teach the fundamental values of Jiu-Jitsu; courage, loyalty, respect, commitment and discipline, and outlines the UAEJJF’s motto of "Participating in building a strong generation". The best youth players will be monitored by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation throughout the competition, offering a select group support and encouragement to develop their skills.

The elite Jiu-Jitsu contest will take place from 18th to 22nd April and will see the UAE’s ‘national treasures’ go head-to-head with a record-number of international participants from countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Korea, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom and the USA. Over 360 medals are up for grabs in what is sure to be a nail-biting competition and this is an invaluable opportunity for athletes at all levels to represent their sport on a world stage.

As part of the action, fans will experience the ultimate clash of Jiu-Jitsu talent at the highest level with the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Legends competition on Saturday 22ndApril. The Jiu-Jitsu Legends competition will see ten world-renowned contenders, both current and retired, fight it out for four gold medals. The closing day of the championship (Sunday 23rd April) will host a red-carpet awards ceremony to honor winners as well as sponsors and participating parties who have contributed to the success of the championship. Winners will be selected according to new international rankings, developed by the Federation during 2016/2017 season and based on the performance of the players in the final round of the tournament.

For those not competing, the event will see the return of the IPIC Fan Zone, a fun-filled family festival atmosphere not to be missed. The IPIC Fan Zone includes sponsor activities, family events and interactive stands, making it the perfect family day-out. The annual raffle returns, giving the public a chance to win exciting prizes including two brand new cars from Premier Motors that include a Jaguar XE and Land Rover Discovery Sport.

On this occasion, Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Managing Director of the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and Minister of Energy, said: "We are proud that IPIC is sponsoring the Championship for the fourth consecutive year, and happy with the great successes that this championship reaches year after year. Since its launch, the ADWPJJC witnessed continuous achievements and has become a major rising sporting event in the country, which has also made Abu Dhabi the global capital of Jiu-Jitsu. We are pleased to contribute to the Jiu-Jitsu sport and lead it to such a prestigious level." The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship will be an unequivocal celebration of the martial art across the country and outlines the region’s enthusiasm for the sport across all levels – from grassroots and community participation, to youth engagement, military use and professional sporting talent. The ninth edition promises to be an action-packed fortnight of competition and fun with something for everyone, from Jiu-Jitsu players, international fans, local followers and the general public alike.

© Copyright 2017 Emirates News Agency (WAM)

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