PHOTO BY SUPPLIED
The 14th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, the largest and most prestigious event on the global calendar, will bring together 5,000 athletes from more than a hundred nations to compete for global honors and a winning end to the season.
Running until November 19, the event got off to an energetic start on Friday at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Zayed Sports City, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the ADWPJJC.
The opening day of the annual competition featured spectacular performances from competitors in various Kids and Para jiu-jitsu categories in the presence of raucous fans who flocked to the stands to cheer on the athletes.
On Friday, athletes in the Kids 1,2,3, Infant, Junior, Teen, and Youth divisions, as well as those in the Para Jiu-Jitsu divisions, competed in a series of matches on 11 mats, and UAE topped the medal list with Kazakhstan and Russia occupying second and third places. In the ranking for academies and clubs, the UAEJJ Team took the lead, while the Kazakhstan National Academy emerged as runner-up, followed by Team Gladiators in third place.
Today’s competitions were attended by His Excellency Abdel Moneim Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, President of the Ju-Jitsu Asian Union, and Senior Vice President of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation, HE Meera Al Suwaidi, Member of Federal National Council, HE Mohammed Yousef Al Fahim, Assistant support services Secretary General for Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), HE Mariam Musalam Almazrouei, Director of Community Service Department at Family Development Foundation, and HE Lubna Al Shamsi, Acting Executive Director of the School Operations Sector at the Ministry of Education.
His Excellency Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice Chairman of the UAEJJF, said that organizing the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship will solidify Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a leading destination for international sporting events.
“The Jiu-Jitsu World Championship that Abu Dhabi hosted lately is still receiving accolades from all around the world. In less than a week after the event got over, the next championship returns with the presence of thousands of players from all four corners of the world,” he said.
“The success of the championship year after year and participation of the elite players would not have been possible without the unfaltering support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE as well as the instructions and constant guidance from His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office. Today, the UAE has positioned itself as a world leader in jiu-jitsu and is the main contributor to the development of Jiu-Jitsu sport in the entire world,” he said.
His Excellency congratulated all the winners for their outstanding performances on the mats today and complimented the large crowd gathered in the gallery to support the athletes.
The high level of attendance at the championship, according to Her Excellency Meera Al Suwaidi, a member of the Federal National Council, showed that it was already a success.
“It is important to note the fantastic atmosphere on the first day of the 14th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. The participating players’ intense performance, the presence of their parents, and the massive spectators that filled the stands give a hint that the current version will stand out,” she said.
MoI Workshop on Children’s safety
On the sidelines of the competitions on Friday, the Ministry of Interior Child Protection Center organized a workshop for parents to enlighten them about the various initiatives it has put in place to ensure children’s safety in the UAE. Nasser Bader Mohamed led the session, a Center’s Digital Protection Section member, and Fatema Alrashdi, Head of the Prevention, Awareness, and Guidance Department, shed light on various ways to tackle the misuse of online platforms. It was followed by a question-and-answer session where the experts clarified the attendees’ questions.
Jiu-Jitsu inspiring generations
Several parents of athletes competing in the championship expressed their joy at the ecstatic mood they saw on the opening day of the competition from the athletes and spectators. One of them is the father of today’s bronze medalist Hamdan Basaloum.
“My son Hamdan took home a bronze medal, it has significantly boosted his morale and self-confidence. We appreciate the wise leadership’s ongoing support of jiu-jitsu and the organisers of this amazing event,” he said.
Elsewhere, the mother of Ezzedine Bassam said she appeared at the championship for the first time.
“Jiu-jitsu is a wonderful game, and we chose it right for my son Izzedine to play because it introduces the player to the atmosphere of tournaments quickly,” she said.
Strong Brazilian presence
The championship is distinguished by the significant presence of the Brazilian community. Mikey Ritter from Brazil, a black belt in jiu-jitsu, has enrolled three of his children for the championship: “Marcelo, Ryan, and Maria are three of my children competing in today’s events, and they all have a great passion for this activity. As a black belt in jiu-jitsu, I can relate to them and I give them all the support they need to pursue their goals.”
Para athletes shine
Brazilian Elcirley Silva, who participated in the Para jiu-jitsu division, remarked that the sport gave him new life after an accident in which he lost his leg.
“I had a number of friends share success stories involving this sport, so I made the decision to get involved in it. It changed my life. I am now presenting myself to the world as a medal winner,” he said. BKM/ Expat Media
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