The second day of the ninth annual Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Festival, which is part of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, saw the future female stars of the sport take to the mats in an exhilarating day of matches.
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, the event saw more than 700 competitors across teen and juvenile categories (aged 14-17) go head-to-head.
The Festival, which sees both boys and girls aged 4 – 17 years old take part, allows young athletes to gain experience against their peers on the world stage and learn essential teachings of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation such as self-confidence, health and fitness, teamwork and sportsmanship.
In the teens categories, over 500 players between 14-15 years old competed in the white, grey, yellow, orange and green belts whilst those in the juvenile category, between 16-17 years old, competed in the white and blue belts – all showing their skills and determination throughout the day. Even if the competitors don’t reach the podium, participants don’t go home empty handed as they awarded a medal for participating in the Festival.
For many of the girls, this is the final event as a teen or juvenile before they progress to the adult stages of the Championship, with top seeds on the verge of professional stardom and showcasing the growth of Jiu-Jitsu across the Emirates.
Rawan Al Sinani, 13, has been competing in Jiu-Jitsu for two years and has seen a noticeable improvement in her health and fitness. “I have become fitter from training in Jiu-Jitsu. Not only have I seen my fitness improve I have much more self-confidence.” she said, speaking immediately after winning her semi-final contest.
“It has taught me to defend myself, and it has also helped me to study harder to achieve my career wish of being a mechanic engineer.”
The Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Festival which comprises of aspiring athletes from girls, boys, white belts and the brand-new Para-Jiu-Jitsu categories, kicks off the Championship event and runs from Monday April 10thto Saturday April 15th– an extended program for this year.
An extensive program of workshops have also commenced over the past two days for girls covering nutrition and health and fitness. Further workshops will run over the next two days for boys and will be followed by further workshops covering topics such as the environment, social responsibility and culture. This year’s event is dedicated to CSR partnerships with initiatives such as ‘Jasadak Amana’ as part of the UAE Year of Giving.
Highlights to come over the coming weeks include the two-day Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Youth Championship on April 16-17, for young athletes on the verge of professional stardom; the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship from April 18-22, which will see hundreds of the sport’s elite compete for the highest honours including international stars Gabriel Arges, Alexandre Ribeiro, Jose Junior and Mackenzie Dern; the return of the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Legends, an epic clash of Jiu-Jitsu icons such as Kenny Florian, Marcio “Pe de Pano” Cruz and Helio “Soneca” Moreira; plus the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Awards which recognizes the talent of the sport at every level.
Away from the non-stop action on the mat, there is a family entertainment in the form of the IPIC Fan Zone which will include sponsor activities, interactive stands, family events and food trucks which are open throughout the event, making it the perfect family day-out. There is even the chance to win exciting prizes including two brand new cars from Premier Motors; a Jaguar XE and Land Rover Discovery Sport.
The event is open to all and is free to attend across the two weeks. To learn more about the event, to register and keep up-to-date with the program visit www.uaejjf.org