| 19 April, 2017

Fierce competition at Jiu-Jitsu championship UAE

Jiu-Jitsu has the full support of the country which has allowed players to gain more experience

Toby Holland (top) from Canada fights with Chang Jing-hsiung from Taiwan during their Pacific Rim Organized Fighting's PRO Fighting 5 MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) match in Taipei July 17, 2011.
image used for illustrative purposes.

Toby Holland (top) from Canada fights with Chang Jing-hsiung from Taiwan during their Pacific Rim Organized Fighting's PRO Fighting 5 MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) match in Taipei July 17, 2011. image used for illustrative purposes.

Reuters/Nicky Loh

ABU DHABI, 19th April, 2017 (WAM) -- Day two of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2017, 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, roared into life at the IPIC Arena with the participation of more than 250 male players and 150 female players from 58 countries.

The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship witnessed fierce and extraordinary performances from the best players in the world with over 29 weight categories in the adults male and female and Masters 1& 2 male blue and purple belt categories.

Brazil lead the second day of the championship medal table with 22 medals (9 gold, 4 silver, 9 bronze). Russia finished second with 7 medal (3 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze), USA finished in third place with 7 medals (1 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze), and Sweden finished in fourth place with 4 medals (2 gold, 2 silver), and UAE in fifth place with 2 silver medals.

As part of the all-encompassing event, a press conference, led by 2017 Sports industry forum and supported by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation was launched at IPIC Arena. The conference was attended by representatives of different organisations aiming to establish Abu Dhabi as a global destination for sports tourism, training camps and global competitions.

Speaking at the press conference, Aref Al Awani, Secretary-General, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, and Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director of Promotion and Overseas Offices at the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, acknowledged Abu Dhabi as a world-class sporting hub as it hosts major international sports events, sports camps and off-season competitions for international teams and clubs, in addition to holding and organising local events and encouraging international sports team to choose Abu Dhabi as their favorite destination.

Sports federations and authorities in Abu Dhabi are working towards creating a supportive and motivating sports environment to achieve excellence and global competitiveness in all sports particularly in Jiu-Jitsu.

Faisal Al Ketbi, UAE National Team Captain and black belt holder, said: "Jiu-Jitsu has seen tremendous development in the UAE. I remember that when we started playing Jiu-Jitsu in 1998, there were only 10 Players practicing Jiu-Jitsu. Since then we have had the full support of our country which allowed us to travel to gain more experience, and enhance our skills and techniques. Now more than 70,000 players practice Jiu-Jitsu, and this is a remarkable achievement which is difficult to emulate in other sports. Now Jiu-Jitsu became rooted in the community, which is a sign of the increase of the number of players and fans of Jiu-Jitsu." The IPIC Fan Zone continued to host educational initiatives and workshops, and today saw the launch of the "Security Awareness" initiative, as Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship is proudly partnered with the Ministry of Interior and Abu Dhabi Police to help advance the vital theme of security awareness." The second day of Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship was also attended by Michael Korn, Senior Vice President of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation, who was impressed at how the tournament continues to grow and the inclusion this year of the sport’s best para-athletes.

"It’s a pleasure for me to be here [at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship] for my third time. When I look at the tournament and its history I can see how it continues to grow every year," Korn said.

"It’s important to have a sport that meets in one place with a lot of different cultures and so I’m glad that Abu Dhabi is able to do a superb job holding the event and welcoming the people here." "The biggest change from previous years is how the tournament has grown. We have a lot of athletes this year and we’ve seen a lot more para-athletes and participants with disabilities. There are also more women taking part, and together this shows that Jiu-Jitsu is for everybody, from adults to children." "Jiu-Jitsu is not only about the lifestyle, it’s also about education. If we look at its different qualities it's about self-growth, violence prevention, self-defense and respect. But it’s mainly about education, which is why it’s important for children to start very early and to learn those things and accept each other. That acceptance means going to another country where you can practice and train with everybody, respect them, and go home with new experiences." Workshops were also held on "Security Awareness" led by the General Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police who taught the public on fire facing, evacuation, first aid and how to scientifically look for fingerprints.

Wednesday also saw the arrival of Mackenzie Dern, the number one ranked female black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and reigning two-time champion of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Dern took a practical workshop titled ‘A Hero’s Journey’ alongside legendary fighter Alexandre ‘Xande' Ribeiro, and also held a Q&A session.

"This is my seventh year fighting in Abu Dhabi so I’ve seen it change a lot," Dern said. "It’s crazy how much it's grown, especially for the women’s. Just to see everything that they’re doing to become like an Olympic sport, it’s exciting. It’s really cool how it’s evolved over the last seven years and I’m happy to be a part of this.

"To have Jiu-Jitsu taught in the schools here, I don’t know of any other country that has that, so it’s crazy that they have that here in Abu Dhabi. You can tell that the Sheikh is definitely investing in the sport."

© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2017.