The first day of the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship kicked off today at the IPIC Arena, Zayed Sports City, which is part of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, 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 first day of Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship, which is held over two days between 16 – 17 April, saw girls aged between 10 -17 years old take to the mats. The IPIC Arena was filled with excitement and suspense as those who had qualified fiercely fought it for Championship titles.
Today the Championship saw 380 UAE female players along with 120 international female players from 24 countries battle it out across different categories and weight divisions in the white, grey, yellow, orange, green and blue belts hoping to win glory and the 257 medals available. (76 gold medals, 72 silver and 109 bronze medals)
Sheikha Jassem Al Raissi, who won a gold medal in her category said:
“I am so happy that I was able to win the gold despite the strong competition. I would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, for his continued support to Jiu-Jitsu and introducing me to the sport. I’ve been practicing Jiu-Jitsu for more than a year and it has had such a positive impact on my life and my studies.”
Seven-year-old Rym Abdel Kareem Al Hashemi, who won a gold medal in the 52kg category said:
“I have practiced Jiu-Jitsu for over a year now, and I have participated in different local and international Championships where I was able to clinch the gold medal in all the competitions I have fought at. The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Champions attracts a large number of the elite Jiu-Jitsu players from all over the world, and each category is comprised of a number of competitions which adds more excitement to the Championship. I am very proud to take part and raise the UAE Flag as well as follow in the footsteps of our leaders.”
Her sister, thirteen-year-old Balqis Abdel Kareem Al Hashemi who also won a gold medal in the 40kg category, was also overjoyed with her effort saying: “Jiu-Jitsu is very important to my family, I am one of five brothers and sisters and we all practice Jiu-Jitsu and are all competing in this year’s Championship. My parents and family are our biggest supporters and I am really looking forward to cheer on my two brothers in tomorrow’s competition.”
Today the UAE lead the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship medal table with 52 gold, 64 silver and 107 bronze medals. Ukraine finished second with 5 gold medals and UK finished in third place with 3 gold, and 1 silver medal.
The UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation has embraced the Year of Giving and on each day of the Championship is promoting a theme that furthers noble causes. The past day’s themes have included: Health and Fitness, The Challenges of Disability as well as Happiness and Positivity. Today’s theme was “Energy and Sustainability” and all participants and spectators were encouraged to be aware of the global challenges related to food, energy and water waste as well as climate change, the reduction of carbon emissions and the use of clean energy.
Energy and Sustainability holds a special place in UAE agenda as they drafted the first unified energy strategy covering production and consumption of energy and have also held international conferences on clean energy and sustainability.
In the IPIC Fan Zone hundreds of Jiu-Jitsu fans also took part in activities related to today’s topic and the Environment Authority – Abu Dhabi even launched a promotional video to educate everyone that attended today’s event about the importance of sustainable energy solutions.
As well as enjoying fierce competition on the mat spectators were also able to enjoy the delicious food at the food trucks park, open throughout the Championship. Each day there’s also a draw for one lucky winner to win a return ticket on Etihad Airways which will take them anywhere on the Etihad Airways flight network. Spectators can even enter a draw to win a brand-new car from Premier Motors; a Jaguar XE.
The second and final day of the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship will commence tomorrow and will see both local and international boys aged 10 – 17 years’ grapple for valuable ranking points and the opportunity to take home a medal.
15-year-old Ryan Duchscherer, a silver medallist in both Gi and No-Gi at the World Championship in Los Angeles, has travelled all the way from Canada to compete in the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship and said
“I am really looking forward to competing in the Championship. It’s my first time in Abu Dhabi and it’s a fantastic opportunity. The competition will be tough, I obviously want to win but it’s just great to be able to have the opportunity to be here and get some great experience.”
Highlights to come over the coming weeks include 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 Abu Dhabi Legends live weigh-in event which will take place at 7pm Town Square, Yas Mall on 21 April; 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 recognises the talent of the sport at every level.