Abu Dhabi, UAE – April 22, 2019: The UAE’s boys aged 10-17 followed in the footsteps of their female compatriots with a stunning haul of medals at the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship – the dedicated competition for local and international youth at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2019 (ADWPJJC), which is 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.
Day three of the week-long ADWPJJC 2019, which runs until 26 April at Mubadala Arena, saw hundreds of boys aged 10-17, from 54 countries and 139 clubs, contest 975 matches in 77 different categories across grey, yellow, orange, green and blue belts in Abu Dhabi – the global home of jiu-jitsu.
UAE boys match girls’ success
With categories split into Infant, Junior, Teen and Juvenile, the UAE claimed victory by claiming 45,384 points, which included 15 gold, 19 silver and 34 bronze medals. Kazakhstan finished second on 22,920 points with 14 gold, 14 silver and 24 bronze medals, while Russia finished third on 20,104 points with 15 gold, 11 silver and 16 bronze medals.
Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine lead international boys’ entries
With 959 athletes from 54 countries and 139 clubs in action in the boys Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship, a total of 886 matches were contested on Monday. Kazakhstan led international entries with 134 athletes, just ahead of Russia with 117 athletes. Ukraine was the third most-represented country with 51 athletes.
VIPs watch the action at Mubadala Arena
His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Khalid Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Al Ain Club, was on-hand to award the winners of the boys’ competition.
“All of the UAE’s achievements in jiu-jitsu are not by accident; our success is down to the great direction of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the continued efforts of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation. As a result of that vision and hard work, we have great champions competing at all levels of international jiu-jitsu. The UAE is well-known for hosting major global events and jiu-jitsu is a huge part of that,” said His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Khalid Al Nahyan.
After participating at Mubadala Arena on Tuesday, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Saeed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Diab bin Saeed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Saeed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan joined crowds to watch a series of entertaining matches contested by international boys.
“It is wonderful to see so many influential figures from across the UAE supporting the country’s athletes, as well as their opponents from the world,” said Mr. Mansour Al Dhaheri, Board Member, UAEJFF.
Angolan President congratulates country’s gold medallists
Ahead of the girls’ and boys’ competitions in the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship, Angolan President João Lourenço weighed in on his country’s performance by congratulating Kiriana Neto on Facebook. The seven-year-old, from Iuneto Power Gym, won three matches in the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Festival to claim gold in the ‘Kids’ yellow belt 28kg category.
“I rejoice with the victory for Angola through seven-year-old Kiriana Neto. Inspiring our children to practise useful activities for society is the path all Angolan families must follow. Congratulations to Kiriana and her family. We are together in this!”
Neto’s compatriots Yura Ataide, from Gracie Barra Angola club, claimed another gold in the ‘Junior’ orange / green belt 48kh category, while Heliane Caio, from Renzo Gracie Angola club, took bronze in the ‘Junior’ yellow belt 68kg. In the boys’ competition, Angola’s Rafael Jesus, representing UFC Gym Middle East, extended the African nation’s medal haul with a gold in the ‘Infant’ orange belt 46kg category.
Jiu-Jitsu legend Ricardo Libirio says Abu Dhabi is “setting a new benchmark”
Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend, Ricardo Libirio, who was the very first World Jiu-Jitsu Champion in the super heavyweight division – above 100kg – back in 1996, visited Mubadala Arena to see the next generation of male jiu-jitsu stars.
The Carlson Gracie-trained student was impressed with what he saw: “The sport of jiu-jitsu is touching peoples’ lives and Abu Dhabi is setting the benchmark – this emirate is a driving force evolving the sport internationally. Abu Dhabi is the future of jiu-jitsu,” said the Rio de Janeiro native.
Boys eager to prove themselves in same arena as professionals, says UAEJJF
“It’s great seeing children competing and they always want to prove themselves, especially in the same arena where professionals compete. The youngsters want to prove what they can do – not only for themselves, but to their teammates, parents and schools. They can either break or stand up, but either way jiu-jitsu is good for their self-esteem,” said Mr. Mansour Al Dhaheri, Board Member UAEJJF.
Al Dhaheri added that so many boys travelling from 54 countries to compete in Abu Dhabi had helped raise the level of competition and quality on the mats at Mubadala Arena.
“These young fighters are fearsome and eager to win. They want to take the gold medals. They are dedicated and know what they want. It’s not about showing off, all they see is the medal.”
Champions and challengers from East and West celebrate Abu Dhabi competition
Competitors from countries as diverse as Kazakhstan, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Australia, Brazil, Jordan, Kazakhstan and Portugal, amongst other, took to the mats on Monday. Having watched his son Karim almost claim a medal, Jordan’s Ramzi Tubor revealed his son can use the experience to further his career.
“This is Karim’s third participation in Abu Dhabi and we hope he can launch a career through this platform,” said Ramzi. “Everything in this tournament is special – the organisation, the participation of international athletes and especially the UAE’s role in promoting the sport globally.”
Parents say sacrifice is worth it after watching their boys realise Abu Dhabi dreams
With hundreds of parents having made years of personal and monetary sacrifices to see their children progress in jiu-jitsu and compete in Abu Dhabi, Mubadala Arena was filled with proud families smiling fondly from grandstands as their champions received medals and fulfilled their Abu Dhabi dreams.
“I am very thankful for this Championship, we know all about Abu Dhabi in Kazakhstan. This Championship means a lot to the sport of jiu-jitsu and winning here is everything – we have sacrificed so much to be in Abu Dhabi, so victory is the pinnacle,” said Salamat Takamussov, who watched his son Arlan win gold in the ‘Infant’ boys’ category for 34kg grey belts.
UAEJJF Board Meeting
The UAEJFF held a Board Meeting today, led by His Excellency Abdulmunam Al Hashemi, Chairman of UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, President of Jiu-Jitsu Asian Union & Senior Vice President of Jiu-Jitsu International Federation.
The meeting highlighted 2018/19 achievements, the state of jiu-jitsu in the UAE, the approval of the Federation’s 2019/20 budget, and ways to link all Federation initiatives to the Year of Tolerance.
The Federation’s Board also made several key decisions, including its Vice Chairman HE Mohamed Salem Al Dhaheri taking immediate charge of all future international events hosted in the UAE, and Board Member Yousef Al Batran assuming responsibility for future preparations of the UAE National Team – including athlete selection and foreign training camps.
Abu Dhabi World Masters Jiu-Jitsu Championship to take over Mubadala Arena
Following the conclusion of the Abu Dhabi World Youth Championship, the Abu Dhabi Masters Jiu-Jitsu World Championship returns to Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Arena on Tuesday. Athletes holding black, brown, purple and blue belts, over the age of 30, will contest more than 700 matches in numerous weight categories.
“The Masters categories feature some of the world’s most experienced jiu-jitsu professinals and practitioners, including famous names from previous editions of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. The Masters is always one of the most hotly-contested categories of the entire week,” said Mohammed Hussein Al Marzooqi, Director of Marketing and Finance at the UAEJJF and Director of the ADWPJJC.
For more information on the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2019, visit www.uaejjf.com