DEFYING THE ODDS: ATHLETES FROM SIX CONTINENTS CLAIM MAJOR HONOURS AT PARAJIU-JITSU CHAMPIONSHIP
Abu Dhabi, UAE – April 20, 2019: Male and female athletes claimed honours categories at the Para Jiu-Jitsu Championship on the opening day of the 11th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2019 (ADWPJJC), which is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Having launched in 2017, the Para Jiu-jitsu Championship is the first major international jiu-jitsu event of its type to cater for athletes with a range of disabilities. This year’s Para Jiu-jitsu Championship has attracted nearly 100 athletes from six continents – a significant increase on the 35 athletes who participated at the inaugural event in 2017 and the 60 participants last year.
The Para Jiu-jitsu Championship includes dedicated categories for masters and juvenile competitors with a range of mobility levels, physical disabilities and mental conditions, including full or partial blindness, impaired muscle power, limb amputations or deficiency, leg length difference, hearing impairment, intellectual impairment and autism, amongst others.
With athletes from South America, North America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australasia taking part on the mats at Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi, His Excellency Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, Acting Executive Director of Education Affairs Sector, said the para jiu-jitsu event was now known around the world.
“The Para Jiu-Jitsu Championship is in line with our commitment to spearhead the UAE’s wider efforts to enhance the lives of people of determination by creating more opportunities for inclusiveness. The success of this year’s Para Jiu-Jitsu Championship underlines that when you create opportunities for all people, they rise to the occasion and excel in performance,” said His Excellency Al Dhaheri.
In the Para Jiu-Jitsu Championship, Brazilian Thiago Silva secured gold in the Men’s Class A category for lower limb amputees by defeating three-time world champion Ronald Mann, of the United States.
“I can’t really describe how it feels to win,” said Silva. “I trained a lot for this championship and the hard work has paid off. I’m very happy to have won because I didn’t know about Roland on the mat, I only know him outside of the arena. He has done so much for para jiu-jitsu, so it was an extreme honour to go head-to-head with him.”
Silva’s namesake Elcirley Silva beat fellow Brazilian Adriano Motta in the final of the Men’s Class C-N category – an ‘Open’, or multi-category competition, for athletes eager to challenge each other competitively – to claim his fourth Abu Dhabi gold.
“Today is about much more than winning. We are in Abu Dhabi on a mission. When we enter the arena, we pass a message to everyone watching that the impossible is nothing and that jiu-jitsu can save lives. To win in Abu Dhabi, a city which has done so much for jiu-jitsu, is extra special. I want to keep pushing the message: never give up, you can do whatever you want. For 17 years, I was a brown belt in conventional jiu-jitsu. I had a bad accident and lost my leg, but jiu-jitsu taught me never to give up.” Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Festival – white belt winners.
In various white belt weight categories for Adults and Masters, multiple winners were crowned in the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Festival, including Ukraine’s Tetiana Kolieva, who claimed gold in the 62kg female adult competition.
“This is my first time participating in Abu Dhabi and this medal is more valuable because ADWPJJC is the most difficult Championship,” said the 21-year-old Kolieva.
Elsewhere, white belt Ahdzhon Bobomurodov, from the Republic of Tajikistan, showed his potential to be a jiu-jitsu hero in the making with victory in the 56kg male adult category.
“This victory is a special moment for me. To win in the home of jiu-jitsu represents a special moment and takes my jiu-jitsu journey to the next level,” said Bobomurodov, 18. “I will use this victory to carry on improving and getting better. Jiu-jitsu has taught me so much and I want to be the best I can be.”
Sheikh Zayed bin Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan watches junior athletes at Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Festival
With hundreds of young children and white belt athletes participating in the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Festival on day one of the ADWPJJC 2019, Sheikh Zayed bin Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan – the son of Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s National Security Advisor and the spiritual father of the Jiu-Jitsu in the UAE – followed proudly in his father’s footsteps by joining crowds to watch the action on the mats.