17 April 2018, Abu Dhabi, UAE: The Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival continued today with the Armed Forces Jiu-Jitsu Championship providing another round of exciting actions as Emirati competitors vied for top positions. The second day saw local athletes competing in white, blue, purple and brown belts across all weight categories.
Held by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) at Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City, the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival takes place under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
High-level dignitaries attending today’s event included Brigadier Saif Ali Al Yamahi, Commander of Zayed II Military College; General Hilal Al Amri, Deputy Commander of the Military Physical Training Centre; and HE Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Advisor to Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge.
Speaking at the event, Brigadier Saif Ali Al Yamahi thanked HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, for his wide support of this unique sport, as well as noting the prominent role being played by the UAEJJF, with the tenth edition of the Championship cementing Abu Dhabi’s status as the capital of Jiu-Jitsu.
Al Yamahi said:
“In a short period of time, Jiu-Jitsu has experienced a dramatic growth throughout the country. The Armed Forces is proud to have participated in today’s events during its tenth edition, which has a very high level of engagement. Competitions such as this are great opportunities that allow our players to enhance their athletic skills and garner the skills necessary for qualifying in major international tournaments. The dramatic rise in participation, compared with the first edition of the event ten years ago, is the clearest evidence of this.”
Fahad Al Shamsi, CEO of the UAEJJF, said:
“The Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival has had a highly successful launch with strong performances across all categories, and it is encouraging to see so many Emirati youth engaging with the sport on such a level. As a sport, Jiu-Jitsu brings many positive values to society both on and off the mats. We have seen a lot of engagement with the public through our Champion Within campaign and look forward to announcing the winning contribution this week.”
As part of the build-up to the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, the #ChampionWithin social media campaign concludes tomorrow, Wednesday April 18. The campaign
encourages members of the public to post videos about their personal experience in overcoming challenges and unleashing the champion within. The post with the highest level of engagement using the #ChampionWithin hashtag will earn a cash prize of USD 1,500 (AED 5,500).
‘Big improvements every year’
Ali Al Derai, a brown belt athlete in today’s 90kg weight category, said:
“Every year, I see a big increase in the technical level and abilities at the championship here in Abu Dhabi, which demonstrates that the sport is on the right track. I believe the future will bring many more successes for the sport, building on the numerous achievements already realized in recent years.”
Al Derai said that the variety Jiu-Jitsu techniques that Emirati players are exposed to has significantly enriched their technical capabilities.
“I have faced a number of international champions at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship and the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in London, as well as interacting with other schools. This kind of experience has improved the standards of Emriati players,” he said.
Jassim Saeed Jassim, who holds a purple belt in the 69kg weight category, said:
“The technical abilities displayed here today exceeded expectations, reflecting the wide significance that the sport has realized. The rise of Jiu-Jitsu in the UAE means that it now touches on all aspects of life.”
“Jiu-Jitsu has helped improve both my mental and physical capabilities. I believe that my quality of life has improved thanks to the sport, and I will never give it up. Regarding the World Pro Championship, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to stand on the podium and get a gold medal as a result of all the hard work I’ve put in over the past year.”
Fun for the family
Throughout the Jiu-Jitsu events, which run until the final of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship on April 28, a dedicated children’s area caters to families. The kids zone is complete with face-painting, arts and crafts and a playhouse with building blocks and slides.
Outside the Arena, athletes and fans can refuel at the 12 food trucks catering to the event. Healthy options are also available, with Acai, Healthy Food and Juice, and Low Calories catering to the calorie-conscious.
In addition, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi has made a range of cultural activities available at the Championship’s activities tent, including demonstrations of Arabic calligraphy, falconry and henna drawings, adding a distinct traditional presence to the event.