• 24 / Apr / 2019

After unprecedented success for the country’s para, youth and master athletes in dedicated competitions at Mubadala Arena this week, Mr. Fahad Al Shamsi is eager to see how the UAE’s male and female adult experts fare in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2019


Abu Dhabi, UAE – April 24, 2019: In only 10 years, Abu Dhabi has borne its own Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF), established de facto homes in the UAE capital for the sport’s global and Asian Federations, energised international competitions through the multi-country Abu Dhabi Grand Slam series, hosted 10 previous editions of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (ADWPJJF) and established a heralded, worldwide reputation as the global capital of jiu-jitsu.

As the 11th edition of ADWPJJC – 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, and the biggest event on the sport’s global calendar – unfolds at Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi this week, it may surprise many that Abu Dhabi’s biggest jiu-jitsu achievement to date lies at home, within the borders of the UAE.

Much to the delight of Mr. Fahad Al Shamsi, Chief Executive Officer of the UAEJJF, the country’s boys and girls have seen off challengers from more than 100 countries to emerge as the undisputed champions of this week’s Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship - the dedicated competition for local and international youth at the ADWPJJC 2019. The UAE also finished second in the Abu Dhabi World Masters Jiu-Jitsu Championship, which concluded on Tuesday.

“We are proud and happy with where we have reached, it shows the quality of our national programme and reflects the work that started 10 years ago when the Federation was established 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,” said Al Shamsi.

“Under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, our vision was to build the culture of the sport in the Emirates – all of the Emirates – from the ground up. Our youth results this week reflect the quality of work conducted with our partners in domestic clubs, the selection and training of coaches and the widespread development of academies across the country. We plan to achieve successful results for years to come and events like this week shows the rewards of those efforts.”

Strong foundations for future success

There are currently 16 official jiu-jitsu clubs operating across the UAE that are sanctioned and supported by the UAEJJF. The clubs, collectively, are responsible for talent identification and developing athletes - from grassroots through to professional level - according to Al Shamsi.

“We have worked hard to build strong relationships with local clubs,” said the CEO of the UAEJJF. “We firmly believe that the clubs are partners and, as a Federation, we can design programmes, but they will only succeed if clubs back those designs and drive participation.

“In that sense, we are always working to implement our plans and strategies with our partners at club-level,” added Al Shamsi. “We believe we still have a considerable margin of improvement and we are highly-motivated to get better and provide efficient environments that further boost the value for UAE athletes. There is always potential to improve and progress.”

UAE athletes prepare to face world’s best

Part of that progress will be evidenced in the success of the UAE’s adult athletes participating in this week’s ADWPJJC – the highlight of the global jiu-jitsu calendar.

In the numerous ADWPJJC categories being contested Wednesday through Friday at Mubadala Arena, UAE athletes will share mats with the best athletes from major jiu-jitsu nations including Brazil, the USA, Japan, France, Australia and the UK.

Joining them will be hundreds of athletes from emerging talent hotspots such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russian and other nations across the Gulf, wider Asia, Europe, Africa and South America – a traditional conveyor belt for world-class jiu-jitsu practitioners and the source market for many of the UAE’s professional coaches now working at clubs across the country.

“It will be very intriguing to see how our talented athletes fare in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship,” said Al Shamsi. “We do not want to put too much pressure on our athletes because many have been training for a lot less years than their international opponents. But jiu-jitsu has penetrated the depths of Emirati culture, it is a core component of our educational curriculum and national consciousness – thankfully we are seeing that in the new generation. We have high hopes for the UAE’s children of jiu-jitsu.”

The world of jiu-jitsu may have Abu Dhabi to thank for throwing its considerable weight behind the sport – but Al Hashemi believes Abu Dhabi also has reasons to be thankful.

“Jiu-jitsu teaches our youth the values of fair competition, honesty, integrity, tolerance, patience, so many virtues. Our investment in jiu-jitsu is part of a long-term strategy to grow the sport at home in the UAE and abroad - that journey continues but we are well and truly on course,” concluded Al Hashemi.

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