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
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.
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.
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
“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.