22 April 2018, Abu Dhabi, UAE: The Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2018 commenced today, with girls from 60 countries around the world converging at Mubadala Arena for the first day of the action. The Championship is open to all belts across the teen and juvenile age groups, with the first day seeing hundreds of female athletes aged 10 to 17 compete.
The event is held by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The UAE’s participation saw a string of successes, securing the top position after being awarded 52 gold medals, 63 silver medals and 118 bronze medals. Meanwhile, in second place, Kazakhstan won five gold, two silver and one bronze medal. Ukrainian participants received five gold and two silver medals, while the United Kingdom came fourth with two gold medals, one silver and one bronze medal. In fifth place with three silver medals and one bronze was Jordan.
H.E. Fahad Al Shamsi, CEO of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF), said:
“The Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship is a significant annual event and we are proud to see such an impressive level of participation today, with determined young women from around the world competing against one-another in larger numbers than ever before. This Championship forms a central part of our strategy to advance the sport on a global echelon. It is the pinnacle of our efforts to engage the upcoming generation in Jiu-Jitsu, as we seek to continue maximizing its wide-reaching benefits.”
Meanwhile, the UAEJJF was awarded the UAE President’s Award for sporting successes. The announcement came during a ceremony in Abu Dhabi this morning, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
Abdulmonem Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAEJJF, said:
“This award is a source of great pride and a badge of honor for everyone at the Federation – from the management and officials to the players and supporters. It serves as an incentive for them to continue striving top spots on podiums around the world and follows continued successes throughout local and international tournaments.”
The prestigious event was visited today by a number of high-profile dignitaries, including H.E. Alexander Efimov, Russian ambassador to the UAE, who expressed his pride in taking part in the Championship, which has succeeded in attracting a large number of participants and attendees alike.
Efimov noted the role of Jiu-Jitsu in connecting nations, gathering athletes and teams from all corners of the world in Abu Dhabi for the championship, as well as the function of Jiu-Jitsu as a common language. The ambassador also emphasized the importance of Jiu-Jitsu in Russia, where it enjoys a large followership, and praised the UAE in its efforts to expand and enhance the sport’s global status.
Tomorrow will see 30 international champions from the past nine editions of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship gather in Yas Mall, to be weighed-in for the first edition of the ‘King of Mats’ competition. Weigh-ins will be held from 18:30, with leading Jiu-Jitsu coaches holding public demonstrations of advanced techniques from midday.
Taking place on April 24, the ‘King of Mats’ competition pays homage to black belt champions across three weight categories, gathering in Abu Dhabi to compete for the new title and cash prizes of USD 200,000. Notable participants include the two-time Abu Dhabi World Pro champion, Gianni Grippo, who took gold in 2015 and 2017, and Hiago George, Abu Dhabi World Pro 2016 champion and the winner of multiple Grand Slams.
Back at Mubadala Arena, the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship for its second and final day with the boys categories, seeing hundreds more 10 – 17-year-olds gather for another day of strong competition.
‘No longer merely a sport’
Fouad Darwish, General Manager of Palm Sports, said: “Palms Sports and the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation have a strong strategic partnership, with common objectives of supporting the sport and further enhancing its presence. The primary goal of this establishment at Palms Sports is to facilitate in expanding Jiu-Jitsu among different age groups, leading to increasing interest not only in the UAE, but in the entire Middle East region as well.”
Darwish further highlighted the importance of the tenth anniversary through the colossal size of the Championship, which has grown tremendously year on year, both in terms of players and strategic partnerships.
“Our overarching mission is to strengthen our capacities and dedicate our efforts in elevating the sport of Jiu-Jitsu in our communities. It is no longer merely a sport, but instead a social and educational celebration. Palms Sports is currently working on a strategy committed to improving the lifestyle of the members of society as well as encouraging them to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle, by promoting the concept of fitness as a necessity.”
The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2018 is set to begin on April 24 with a grand Opening Ceremony and the all-new ‘King of Mats’ competition, with 80 per cent of the world’s top Jiu-Jitsu athletes competing until the black belt finals on April 28.
All the action will be broadcast live around the world, with FloGrappling making its streaming services of the Championship available worldwide and Abu Dhabi Sports providing regional coverage.
Meanwhile, Fox Sports Asia provides coverage in 44 countries in Asia, Asia-Pacific and Oceania; Combate in Brazil; Fight Network in Canada, Europe and the MENA region; Singtel in Singapore and Australia; and Astro SuperSports 2 in Malaysia. In addition, Azam Sports airs in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Malawi; Orange TV in Indonesia; EB TV in Thailand; GuangDong TV in China; and ABS-CBN Sports in Phillipines.
SFR Sports airs the Championship in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Sub-Saharan Africa. Fight Sports provides coverage in Pan-Asia Pacific, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Former Yugoslavia and the Caribbean.