ABU DHABI: The UAE National Pro jiu-jitsu championship, organized by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Pro (AJP), came to a spectacular ending on Sunday at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi, with the UAE taking home the most medals courtesy of stellar performances in both the amateur and professional divisions.
The final day’s fights were praised for the increased enthusiasm, tenacity, and performance quality by the participants as they battled in front of a boisterous crowd cheering them on from the stands. Marking an end to the dramatic championship, Commando Group managed to achieve the lead followed by Palms Sports in second place and A.F.N.T in third place. In the country rankings, the UAE came on top, followed by Brazil and Columbia in second and third places respectively.
“Based on the vision of the wise leadership to support athletes and sports, the UAEJJF is constantly working to provide the best competitive environment for the nation’s players, pave the way for progress and advancement, and climb the ladder of glory,” said Mohamed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice Chairman of the UAEJJF.
“The competition has benefitted greatly in the athletes’ preparation for significant continental and international events, most notably the World Championship and the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship, in addition to allowing them the opportunity to compete against the top schools in the world.”
Abdel Moneim Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, President of the Asian Jiu-Jitsu Union and Senior Vice President of the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation, Hanadi Al Kabouri, Executive Director of the Sharjah Self-Defense Sports Club, Tariq Al Bahri, General Manager of AJP, and Mubarak Al Menhali, Director of the Technical Department, UAEJJF were also present at the Arena.
Ramon Lemos, the UAE national team’s coach lauded the team members for their outstanding performance. “The UAE National Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship surpassed all expectations and offered a distinctive model at the technical, organizational, and participation levels in terms of top-tier athletes, particularly the brown and black belts campaign,” he said.
“In October and November, we’ll be witnessing two of the most prestigious jiu-jitsu competitions in the world: the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship and the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. The national team’s preparations are in full swing, and I have no doubts whatsoever that our squad will excel and solidify its domination over the sport.
“We are eager to learn from and incorporate the challenges that our players faced today because many of them will make up the core of the national teams at the coming championships. To qualify them and improve their readiness for the impending benefits is a component of our preparation activities.”
Khaled Mohammed Al Shehhi, player of Al Ain Club and the national team (brown belt), who won the gold in the 62 kg category, said: “Given the nature and level of the contestants, the tournament was rife with intensity and rivalry and served as the ideal warm-up for the World Championship and the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship.”
In turn, Balqis Al Hashemi from Palms Sports Academy and the winner of the gold in the 49kg weight category, is also focusing on the upcoming Championships. “I want to give my best effort at the international level and use my recent experience to prepare for the next.”
Elsewhere, Brazil’s Riu Neto (Al Wahda Club) who secured gold in 85 kg, said: “I’m delighted that I was able to win the medal today. My patience and determination allowed me to achieve this target, even though I had to compete against some of the toughest opponents. As competing in Abu Dhabi’s professional tournaments is a goal for the most prominent players in the world, I’m keen to take part in all the competitions held there.”
On the first day Youssef Abdullah Al Batran, a board member of the UAEJJF said: “The strong presence of the elite clubs and academies from the UAE as well as other countries enriches the competitions and aligns with the UAEJJF’s vision to promote sports, expanding the base of participants and creating an ideal environment for the development of champions.”
“The UAE National Pro which featured hundreds of male and female competitors from more than 50 countries, serves as a mini version of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. The large crowd cheering for the winners highlights jiu-jitsu as one of the world’s and region’s fastest-growing sports.”
For his part, Tariq Al Bahri, General Manager of AJP, said: “Our championships enjoy a prestigious international standing, and provide the opportunity for sports lovers around the world to participate and maintain their levels and readiness for various upcoming competitions. One of the most important gains of the AJP Championships, is that it paves the way for a group of future stars of the game who represent the mainstay of the national teams.”
Ali Al Tunaiji, a yellow belt player for the Al Jazira club, who won the gold in the championship in the Teen category, weighing 84 kg, expressed his great happiness at climbing the podium: “We were able to overcome the challenges and win the gold medal despite the tough and arduous competitions because of our thorough preparation for the championship and ongoing training. I will continue to put in a lot of effort for future competitions, especially the Vice President Cup and the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship,” he said.
For her part, the Brazilian Thay Paixao from Al Ain Club who won the women’s 80 kg gold medal, said. “My goals are clear for the next stage, which is to prepare to participate in the upcoming championships. I have now obtained 1000 rating points and I hope I can achieve more medals during the annual Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship.”
The UAE national players displayed exceptional performance in the Masters class, winning several gold medals. Salem Al Asmar (69 kg), Ibrahim Al Hammadi (94 kg) from A.F.N.T Academy, and Hamid Al Balushi (120 kg) from Shabab Al Ahli Club were among the winners on Saturday. “I’m very happy that I was able to win a medal in the Masters 2 competition and climb the podium, especially as winning this specific category involves a great deal of experience, patience, and perseverance,” Al Balushi said.
The championship activities continued with competitions for the Amateur and Professional categories for two days.