The Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Awards were held this evening at Emirates Palace, with H.H. Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior honouring Jiu-Jitsu champions. Organised by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF), the gala event drew the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2018 and the 2017 – 2018 season to a close, with awards being handed out to the world’s best athletes across 26 categories.
The Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Awards honours athletes and champions across 26 categories, acknowledging best players, clubs and referees of the year. The awards followed the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation world ranking system, based on the total number of points throughout the 2017 – 2018 season.
The awards ceremony marked the end of the largest Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship to date, with more than 9,000 athletes from 120 countries competing. With the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the Championship has helped consolidate Abu Dhabi’s status as the sport’s global capital.
A number of high-profile dignitaries attended the prestigious award ceremony, including H.E. Suhail Al Mazourei, Minister of Energy and Industry; Mohamed Al Hamadi, CEO of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation; Ali Al Yafei, CEO of Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments; and H.E. Abdulmonem Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAEJJF.
Awards were handed out to best Emirati competitors across different belt divisions, with Faisal Al Ketbi being recognised as best Emirati black belt adult of the year and Zayed Obaid Al Kaabi taking the award for best Emirati brown belt player of the year.
In the purple belt categories, Hamdan Ahmed Al Blooshi took best Emirati male player of the year and Maha Al Hinaai was named best Emirati female player of the year.
For blue belts, Mohammed Al Amri was named best Emirati blue belt male player of the year and Ashwaq Al Khoori took best Emirati blue belt female player of the year. Khalifa Humaid Al Kaabi took the award for best Emirati blue belt youth male player, and Mahra Al Hinaai secured her place as best Emirati blue belt youth female player.
The world’s leading international Jiu-Jitsu athletes were also recognised for their successes in the season’s rankings. World champion Igor Silva, from Brazil, was named best male player of the year, with UAE-based Brazilian Larissa Paaes being recognised as the best female player of the year. Best player in the Master 1 category, for athletes 30 and over, went to Brazilian Mauricio Antunes, while best rookie player of the year was awarded to Matheus Felipe Da Silver Xavier.
The ceremony also gave awards to players by region. Best Asian player of the year went to Joao Carlos Kuraoka, with Adam Wardzinski being awarded best European player and best South American player of the year going to Igor Silva. Matthew Leighton was named best North & Central American player of the year, Adolfo Correia was awarded best African player of the year and best Oceanian player of the year went to Lachlan Giles.
The Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Awards also saw special recognition of the best clubs, federations and schools involved in the sport.
Best international academy of the year went to Grappling Fight Team, also known as GF Team, a prominent academy with affiliates and clubs all over the world, and the most promising Asian Jiu-Jitsu Federation was given to the Indonesian Jiu-Jitsu Federation. In addition, Alexandre Nascimento was named referee of the year.
In addition, local clubs and schools were nominated for their efforts and successes over the past year, with Al Wahda Club Jiu-Jitsu Academy being named as the best Emirati club of the year. Al Maqam School was recognised for being the best Emirati boys school of the year, and Al Reef school was named best Emirati girls school of the year.