Leading UAE Jiu-Jitsu champions are set to face off against Brazilian counterparts in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2018 black belt finals tomorrow, Saturday April 29, after a day of tough action at Mubadala Arena. With packed crowds, the best male and female Jiu-Jitsu athletes from around the world competed in the quarter- and semi-finals for the Adult black belt divisions, while the Adult brown belt and Master 1 brown and black belt finals resulted Emirati champions Musabbeh Al Khateri and Mohammed Radhi winning gold medals.
Renowned local athlete Faisal Al Ketbi, a black belt in the 85kg category, bested his opponents Clifford Edwards and Bruno Reale to get through to tomorrow’s final against Isaque Braz. Following success against Taj Azzedine, Talib Al Karbi beat Mike Easton in an exciting semi-final to secure his place in the Championship’s final round.
Bringing the 2017 – 2018 season to a close, the Championship final makes a total of 400 points available for gold medalists, offering competitors one last opportunity to earn a significant boost in the season’s rankings. For black and brown belt rounds, the Championship applies a double elimination bracket for the main draw. The bracket system groups countries together, meaning that a maximum of two competitors per country will proceed to tomorrow’s rounds.
Meanwhile, today’s Adult brown belt division finals resulted in seven gold and four bronze medals being awarded to Brazil, with Australia taking two bronze medals.
The Master 1 brown belt categories saw Brazil top the rankings with two gold medals and one silver, with the UAE coming a close second, taking two gold medals and one bronze. Emirati competitors Musabbeh Al Khateri and Mohammed Radhi won the 69kg and 85kg categories respectively. In third place was Kazakhstan with two silver medals.
In the black belt Master 1 finals, Brazil come first overall with four gold medals, four silver medals and three bronze, while Australia ranked second with one silver and one bronze medal. With one gold medal each, Sweden and Russia came joint third.
The Championship is held by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and has attracted the attendance of several high-profile dignitaries.
Among those spectating the sport today were H.H. Sheikh Ammar Bin Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman; H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Director of The Martyrs' Families' Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court; H.E. Mohmmed Al Junaibi, Director of the President's Protocol Office at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs; H.E. Dr. Ahmed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Secretary-General of the Executive Council; H.E. Abdulmonem Al Hashemi, UAEJJF Chairman; and Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Advisor to the ADEK Chairman.
H.H. Ammar Bin Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, who awarded today’s winners, said: “I am pleased to see such a level of public attendance and engagement with Jiu-Jitsu here today, with representatives from all parts of the world. I would like to congratulate today’s winners, and thank all those that took part in the Championship for their incredible efforts.”
He noted that the Emirati participation had been particularly strong this year, and praised the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation for their diligent efforts and success in providing world-class training facilities, as well as its role in advancing the sport on a local and global echelon.
Also present was Panagiotis Theodoropoulos, President of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation, who said: “With the support of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, the people and government of the UAE have succeeded in building a strong name for Jiu-Jitsu, and Abu Dhabi is now officially recognized as the sport’s global capital.”
Speaking about the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2018, Theodoropoulos said: “This event consists of the best professional athletes in the world, all of whom follow their own schools and bring different techniques to the mats, and you can see the high standards here today.”
H.E. Abdulmonem Al Hashimi, Chairman of the UAEJJF, said: “The world-class Jiu-Jitsu action throughout the day has been riveting, with close competition between the best athletes in the world. We are proud of the high level of technical ability and skilled athleticism that we have seen throughout the course of the Championship, with today representing the 12th consecutive day of world-class Jiu-Jitsu action.
“Year after year, the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship has been established as an essential global sporting event, thanks to the diligent efforts of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation. The Championship is a benchmark for other Jiu-Jitsu events around the world, with the volume and caliber of participation becoming a gold standard. These experiences have paved the way for the UAE to continue developing the sport on a global scale,” he added.
Dr Marwan Ali Al Kaabi, Emergency Management Director at SEHA, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, said: “We are proud of our longstanding partnership with the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and this Championship, as we are firm believers in its importance for strengthening the community’s health.”
He added: “This Championship is particularly distinguished, with its tenth edition coinciding with the Year of Zayed. We feel fortunate to be supporting the Championship, which has involved providing mobile clinics, first aid and ambulance services for the players throughout the competition.”
Outside of the Championship, SEHA works with the UAEJJF by monitoring players’ health and fitness levels throughout the Jiu-Jitsu season.
Haider Rashid, a Jordanian black belt competing in the Adult 85kg classification, said: “I am proud to be taking part in the Championship for the third time, and won a bronze medal previously. The quality of the event, including its organization and level of participation, has improved significantly. The competition has become tougher across all categories, so as players, we have to work hard and train continuously to keep developing our skills and techniques.”
23 year old British black belt athlete, Bradley Hill, who took part in the 85kg weight category, said: “Abu Dhabi is a great place, and I love coming here every year, with such a professional event dedicated to Jiu-Jitsu. The quality of the event organization and production is constantly improving. The rankings that have been put in place, in terms of the nationalities and brackets, are also a good development.”
With Abu Dhabi Sports 2 dedicated to the Championship, the channel broadcast for 8 hours on a daily basis, totalling more than 100 hours of Jiu-Jitsu being aired over the course of the 13 days of action. A crew of some 100 technicians and experts manned a total of 24 cameras to ensure that all the action was streamed to fans around the world.