ABU DHABI: The 12th edition of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship kicked off on April 6 and was attended by players from several different countries who participated in the junior competitions held in the Jiu- Jitsu Arena.
400 athletes from the youth, under 18, category from the Blue Belt campaign participated in the first day of the tournament, representing countries and academies globally.
Players from the UAE performed well during competitions and succeeded in achieving 34 colored medals, 12 gold, 12 silver and 10 bronze, confirming the presence of a solid base for emerging talent capable of raising the country’s flag in international forums and championships.
The tournament was held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The ADWJJC, running from April 6-9, is the largest and most prestigious event on the global jiu-jitsu calendar.
Many notable figures attended the first day of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship including the Minister of Education, president of the Local and Asian Federations, first vice president of the International Federation of Jiu-Jitsu, and vice president of Emirates Jiu-Jitsu Federation, amongst others.
Abdul Moneim Al Hashemi, President of the Local and Asian Federations, affirmed that the jiu-jitsu community is experiencing joy for the return of the most important championship, noting Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s efforts.
Al Hashemi added that the launch of the championship today enhances feelings of national pride for a country whose leadership is keen to ensure the highest levels of prosperity and well-being for its citizens, and residents, reinforcing that the country has a golden base for promising jiu-jitsu talents.
Al Hashemi also mentioned that the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship coincides with the launch of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, one of the United Nations initiatives that celebrates sport and physical activity towards “the road to recovery.”
He continued by stating that jiu-jitsu is distinguished from other sports by the value it carries, and its role in strengthening social ties and promoting solidarity, respect, and creativity.
Mohammed Salem Al-Dhaheri, vice president of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF), confirmed that the great turnout of international players participating in the championship, especially amidst the pandemic, proves that the UAE can secure and prioritize a safe environment for players.
Al Dhaheri emphasized how UAE’S initiative to provide the COVID-19 vaccine for all players coming from outside the country bears a great indication of the country’s humanitarian role, and its keenness to send a message of hope, love, and tolerance to all countries.
“Protecting the health and wellness of all our participants is our top priority, and we have taken a lot of care to ensure that our comprehensive set of health and safety protocols will put everyone’s mind at ease and allow them to focus on performing to the best of their abilities on this huge platform,” he said.
Angolan player Helio Serodio from Renzo Gracie Academy, won the gold medal in the 50 kg weight, and shared: “I feel indescribably happy after winning the most important global Jiu-jitsu championship ever. “
He stressed that he was aware of the difficulty of the competition and congratulated his colleague Sohail Turkman on his high performance in the final. Serodio expressed his great happiness to be in Abu Dhabi, and the generous hospitality that he is receiving.
Brazilian Eduarda Reyes of Al-Wehda Academy and winner of the 52 kg gold, said that being in a championship of this size and level is a goal for all players, while winning the gold medal and standing on the coronation podiums represents a bright imprint on our career as professionals, and a constant incentive to continue the path of success.
Reyes expressed her thanks and gratitude to everyone who supported her in her journey in the championship and concluded by saying that everything is beautiful in the UAE.
Other winners include Ibrahim Ali Al-Mansoori from Al-Wehda Academy, Shama Al-Nawfali from Al-Wehda Academy, as well as Laila Hamad from Al Jazeera Academy.
The masters’ competitions will start on April 7, and about 500 black, brown, purple and blue belt athletes, over the age of thirty will compete in hundreds of fights distributed over a number of weight classes.