ABU DHABI: Some of the world’s most accomplished jiu-jitsu players are set to descend on the UAE.
Taking place at Zayed Sports City’s Jiu-Jitsu Arena from May 6 to 8, the competition will feature youth, masters, and professional categories, with all participants looking to improve their ranking and claim a share of cash prizes worth a total of $225,000.
Men and women from teams and academies around the globe will compete in the event which is open to local, regional, and international players. Due to high demand, registration for the tournament, organized by Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Pro and hosted by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, only closed on Tuesday.
Competition in the youth division and queen of mats class, will take place on the opening day, followed by masters and king of mats on day two. The highly anticipated professionals round has been reserved for the final day.
Tariq Al-Bahri, the AJP’s director general, said: “This event demonstrates the UAE’s and Abu Dhabi’s remarkable accomplishment in hosting the world’s most prestigious championships.
“Considering the participation of elite stars in the regional and international arenas, it has again proven to be one of the most prominent jiu-jitsu competitions in the world.
“As the championship brings together the world’s top-ranked athletes, notably for the king and queen of mats events, the Jiu-Jitsu Arena will see high-caliber fights,” he added.
Emirati world champion Omar Al-Fadhli will be the first UAE national and Arab to compete in the king of mats tournament when he competes this week as one of the event’s biggest draws.
The fighter said: “Competing in king of mats is every Emirati player’s dream. This means facing the world’s strongest and toughest jiu-jitsu players, who are used to such an environment and have a lot of experience on the mat.
“I started preparing for this competition a long time ago. World jiu-jitsu legends will compete in this tournament, which will provide us with the best possible technical value as jiu-jitsu professionals. In terms of preparations, the players have to be at their physical and mental peaks,” he added.
Zayed Al-Kathiri, who is taking part in the professional category, has previously participated and won the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam. He returns looking not just to compete, but to replicate his previous feat. Winning in front of the UAE audience would be a special feeling, he said.
“My goals are not only to compete in the tournament but also to achieve a meaningful result that will help me develop my technical level and lead to greater accomplishments in the future, particularly when representing the UAE in the Asian Games in China,” he added.
Another Emirati participant, Balqis Al-Hashemi, said: “We have a lot of things coming up and this tournament will serve as a great springboard for us to step up our preparations in order to reap success and prove that the UAE’s players are capable of reaching the very top of the rankings in a combat sport.”