Guts, glory and ‘Gi’ as Brazilian men and women dominate ‘Masters 1’ rivals
Multinational medals table in ‘Masters 2-4’ divisions reflects Abu Dhabi’s status as global jiu-jitsu capital
More dreams to come true as Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship begins on Wednesday
Abu Dhabi, UAE – April 23, 2019: In one of the most dramatic and hotly-contested competitions in recent memory, jiu-jitsu masters from Brazil dominated today’s Abu Dhabi World Masters Jiu-Jitsu Championship at Mubadala Arena.
The exciting preview to the three-day 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 - saw master black, brown, purple and blue belts aged 30 years and above contest more than 700 matches in numerous weight categories.
The world of jiu-jitsu unites on the Abu Dhabi mats
With cash prizes of USD63,000 available to ‘Masters 1’ division winners in various weight categories, athletes representing 72 countries and 207 clubs competed in 110 divisions at Mubadala Arena on Tuesday.
Brazil, the famous jiu-jitsu heartland, was the most represented nation with 180 athletes, while Russia had 61 and the UAE had 56 athletes in action. Kazakhstan, Colombia, France and the UK all offered more than 20 masters each. Twenty-two countries from five continents contributed between five and 15 athletes each, including Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, the USA, Spain, Angola and South Korea, the Philippines, Poland, Italy, Bahrain and Mongolia.
Individual winners reflect on dreams coming true
With hundreds of world-class jiu-jitsu practitioners on display, the watching crowd went wild during the finals of seven powerhouse ‘Masters 1’ black belt categories. Gold medallists in ‘Masters 1’ included:
Male, Black belt – 56kg: Juan Lopes Da Silva (Portugal), Prime Team
- Male, Black belt – 62kg: Jose Barros (Brazil), Pslpb Cicero Costha Team
- Male, Black belt – 69kg: Thiago Marques (Brazil), Commando Group
- Male, Black belt – 77kg: Sergio Rios (Brazil), Brasa/99 Team
- Male, Black belt – 85kg: Marcos Tinoco (Brazil), Marcelo Garcia Jiu-Jitsu
- Male, Black belt – 94kg: Renato Cardozo (Brazil), Commando Group Team
- Male, Black belt – 110kg: Igor Silva (Brazil), Commando Group
- Female, Brown / Black belt – 49kg: Anna Carolina Ardisson (Brazil), Palms Sports JJ Team
- Female, Brown / Black belt – 55kg: Tamara Rocha (Brazil), Palms Sports JJ Team
- Female, Brown / Black belt – 62kg: Eloisa Crespo Perez (Spain), Palms Sports JJ Team:
- Female, Brown / Black belt – 70kg: Polyana Lago (Brazil), Palms Sports JJ Team
Competing in the Abu Dhabi World Masters Jiu-Jitsu Championship for the first time, 2018 world jiu-jitsu champion Igor Silva, said: “I’ve completed my goal by topping the ranking after going the whole season in the Masters to avoid my brother in the World Pros, we don’t contest each other. I love to compete in Abu Dhabi and it’s a great feeling being in this arena – my mission is complete.”
After losing the 69kg final to Marques, the UAE’s Talib Saleh, who announced he was retiring before the final, said: “It’s not the best way to go out but reaching the finals was still an achievement. This is the fourth time I have won silver. I want to thank all the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, my coaches and teammates.”
Following her triumph in the 70kg female category, Polyana Lago, a UAE resident for the past eight years, said: “This division is full of tough girls, so I wasn’t aiming for gold. I wanted to play the game I wanted, feel comfortable and see. Everything I planned on doing happened and I’m really happy – this is my dream, a first gold medal in a world competition.”
Black belt para-athlete defies the odds to clinch Master 3 – 69kg gold
Away from the ‘Masters 1’ divisions, one of the most memorable performances of the entire ADWPJJC week belonged to UK para-athlete Raphael Dos Santos of the A.F.N.T team. The Brazilian black belt, an amputee, won the ‘Masters 3’ 69kg division against able-bodied opponent, Mario Silva, from Brazil.
“Jiu-jitsu has helped me overcome my injury and achieve my dreams in Abu Dhabi,” said an emotional Santos. “I would like to thank the championship organisers for giving opportunities to para-athletes because jiu-jitsu literally saved my life.”
Brazil edge out Russia, UAE and Kazakhstan to seal top-ranked country honours
Brazil claimed outright victory by claiming 28,320 points and 22 gold, 17 silver and 20 bronze medals. Russia clinched second-place on 13,720 points with 12 gold, 10 silver and 9 bronze medals, while the UAE finished third on 11,720 points with 7 gold, 10 silver and 8 bronze medals. Kazakhstan, Colombia, France, the UK, Jordan, Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia completed the top 10.
His Highness Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed bin Khaled Al Nayhan watches masterful display
With His Highness Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed bin Khaled Al Nayhan, again taking in the action on the mats, further VIPs in attendance included: His Excellency Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council; Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, Acting Executive Director of Education Affairs Sector; and Mohammed Bin Dalmouk Al Dhaheri, UAEJJF Board Member.
“We are extremely honoured by the presence of His Highness Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed bin Khaled Al Nayhan, and His Excellency Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, and we thank all of the high-ranking VIPs who continue to support the Federation’s work in spreading the messages and values of jiu-jitsu across the UAE and beyond,” said 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.
His Excellency Aref Hamed Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council proud of jiu-jitsu showpiece
His Excellency Aref Hamad Al Awani, Secretary General, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “After 11 years of non-stop progress, the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship is now rightly-regarded as the best and largest jiu-jitsu competition in the world. The second decade of this championship will provide us with even more quality talent as we extend the pool of international players. The championship also represents a great platform for UAE players to compete in global competitions. We are witnessing a great level of attendance and enthusiasm from the spectators – we are very proud.”
Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship starts on Wednesday
With the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Festival, Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship and Abu Dhabi World Masters Jiu-Jitsu Championship now concluded, the three-day Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship returns to Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Arena on Wednesday.
On the first day, adult male and female athletes holding black, brown, purple and blue belts, under the age of 30, will contest matches in numerous weight categories ranging from 49kg to 110kg.
On Thursday’s second day, main bracket matches for adult male and female black and brown belts in weight categories ranging from 49kg to 110kg will determine the final qualifiers for Friday’s Finals.
“We are ready for a spectacular finale to the 11th edition of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. This is where the dreams of jiu-jitsu athletes from every corner of the world will be broken or realised,” said Mohammed Hussein Al Marzooqi, Director of Marketing and Finance at the UAEJJF and Director of the ADWPJJC.