16 April 2018, Abu Dhabi, UAE: The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2018 kicked off today, launching 13 consecutive days of Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, beginning with the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival that runs until April 22. Over the course of activities, held by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF), more than 9,000 athletes from 100 countries around the world will grapple it out in Abu Dhabi for the top titles and cash prizes totalling USD 1 million.
The Championship is being held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, who has been instrumental in the growth and development of the sport, both locally and internationally.
The first day of activities opened with the National Service Authority Jiu-Jitsu Championship — a special tournament for Emirati males that includes white, blue and purple belt categories. The tournament sees thousands of Emirati athletes battle it out on the mats for the top spot. The opening day also saw coaches of black belts from Palms Sports, the technical arm and strategic partner of the UAEJJF, give an exciting demonstration of advanced Jiu-Jitsu skills and self-defense techniques.
A number of high-profile dignitaries were in attendance to spectate the tournament, including Major-General Mohamed Murad Al Bloushi, Director of Joint Logistics for the Armed Forces GHQ; H.E. Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Advisor to Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge; Youssef Al Batran, UAEJJF Board Member; Fahad Al Shamsi, CEO of the UAEJJF; and Zaal Zayed Al Mansoori, Director of Government Affairs, Industrial Development Unit at Tawazun.
With activities underway, all eyes are on Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, where the tournaments are being held in front of packed crowds of dignitaries, athletes and fans alike. The world-class sporting venue has been transformed for the two-week event, with a new activities tent and series of displays on show.
HE Abdelmoneim Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, President of the Jiu-Jitsu Asian Union and Senior Vice-President of Jiu-Jitsu International Federation, said:
“This tenth edition of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship is a landmark event that represents a decade of phenomenal growth for the sport around the world. Nowhere is this more visible than the UAE, where Jiu-Jitsu has been officially adopted as the national sport, and our Championship has grown from a two-day event into one of the sport’s largest events in the world, which is the result of significant organisational efforts by our team. We look forward to seeing the strong competition over the course of the next two weeks, and have already had some incredibly talented Emirati players take the mats today.”
Abdullah Al Junaibi, a blue belt athlete participating in today’s 62kg weight category, said:
“I’m honoured to be taking part in this global championship and to represent the National Service Authority, particularly during the Year of Zayed. This is my second participation in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship, and I underwent intensive training in preparation for the event. Whether on or off the mat, I view Jiu-Jitsu as a lifestyle.”
Having won all of his fights today, Al Junaibi said he is pleased with his successes and is looking forward to more achievements for himself and his colleagues.
Meanwhile, the all-new activities tent, which is free and open to members of the public throughout the Championship, includes a number of areas showcasing local sports groups and official displays. The Ministry of Interior (MOI), which signed a three-year strategic partnership and sponsorship agreement with the UAEJJF last week, is showcasing its activities alongside Abu Dhabi Police and Dubai Police. The tent also includes a range of local products and traditional ‘majlis’ areas.
In addition, the activities area provides visitors with the opportunity to learn about Jiu-Jitsu and engage with the sport. Palms Sports has provided a practice mat that is used to showcase Jiu-Jitsu techniques and moves to educate visitors on the sport. In addition, Emirates Global Aluminium has set up an interactive jiu-jitsu challenge. A gallery is also displaying iconic Jiu-Jitsu medals, belts and Gis, the heavy cotton uniforms traditionally worn during matches.
All of the action will be broadcast worldwide, including non-stop coverage and features on Abu Dhabi Sports 2, which is dedicated to the Championship throughout the month. Abu Dhabi Media is the Official Media Partner for the event, with its Abu Dhabi Sports Channels subsidiary forming the Official Sport Channel.