• 25 / Apr / 2019

Mansour Al Dhaheri believes Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship is elevating potential of UAE’s next generation of champions

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend Rodrigo Libirio says Emirati world champions are “inevitable”


Abu Dhabi, UAE – April 25, 2019: The long-term approach of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) and the world-class standard of competition at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (ADWPJJC) 2019 - 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 - are combining to foster a future generation of male and female Emirati world champions, according to jiu-jitsu experts from the UAE and Brazil.

Mr. Mansour Al Dhaheri, a Board Member of the UAEJJF, believes the sport is now ingrained in UAE culture and the collective conscious of Emirati youths across the nation.

“The kids are our future,” said Al Dhaheri. “Jiu-jitsu has become a very big part of our daily lives in the UAE, especially in schools where is a cornerstone of the physical education curriculum. Parents are always speaking about jiu-jitsu and it is now the national sport of the UAE. This has always been what we want, to see the sport flourish.”

Despite tremendous progress, there is much more to do, insists Al Dhaheri: “We are going to continue sharpening our programmes to help our future champions. I like to use the analogy of someone who works with his hands, like a blacksmith or a swordsman, they spend years trying to perfect their technique to make sword the sharp as possible. That is what we are doing with jiu-jitsu, making our athletes as sharp as possible.”

No easy route to the top but fast-developing youngsters point to a bright future

With the backing of the UAE leadership and the UAEJFF, the country’s youth can benefit from solid grassroots infrastructure – but only hard work will result in medals.

“I’m very impressed with the quality of our youngsters’ techniques,” added Al Dhaheri. “When we first started jiu-jitsu in the UAE our youth players would struggle with the full technique – it would be half right or not right at all. Now our children are performing with more confidence and performing full moves more swiftly and more fluently – this shows the Federation and our clubs are training children in the necessary skills to compete with international kids.

“They may be learning the hard way going up against kids from around the world, but they need to be aware of the quality in different countries. If they want to succeed long-term, they need to appreciate the commitment required to make it to the top. We have to respect the level of our rivals, learn from defeats and work even harder.

As UAE prospects rise, so do international challengers

With global jiu-jitsu progress seeing an increasing number of youths from five continents taking up the sport, Al Dhaheri believes the challenge for UAE kids is not simply rising to the top, it is staying there.

“The international boys and girls are eager to win when they come to Abu Dhabi, the home of jiu-jitsu. Our competitions carry prestige and the kids travel huge distances to come here. They train hard every day and save all their pocket money for international competitions. The international kids are fearsome, they want to take the gold medals and their quality is amazing. They are dedicated, they know what they want - all they see is the medal,” said Al Dhaheri.

UAE world champions an “inevitability”, says Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend

After watching the next generation of jiu-jitsu stars at Mubadala Arena this week, Brazil’s Ricardo Libirio - the very first World Jiu-Jitsu Champion in the super heavyweight division back in 1996 – believes it is “inevitable” that the UAE will rear future world champions.

“Abu Dhabi is setting the benchmark in global jiu-jitsu and driving the sport internationally. Abu Dhabi is the future of jiu-jitsu and the entire world is looking at what this place doing in the sport. It is inevitable that we will see future world champions from Abu Dhabi and the UAE will be the number one nation on the world in a pretty short time – I have no doubt about it,” added the Rio de Janeiro native.

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