FAHAD Al SHAMSI, GENERAL SECRETARY, UAEJJF:
I would like to begin by wishing all of you a very happy new year. May the coming year bring success, joy, and prosperity to all.
This year has been a trying one. With the support of our wise and visionary leadership, we have bravely faced the many challenges thrown at us by the pandemic and have emerged stronger. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of you for your courage, sacrifice, and the compassion you have showed to one another.
I am confident that the coming year will bring much happiness and success to everyone in the UAE and around the world. Continue the good work, keep working hard in training, and keep holding the values of our dear sport close to your heart.
UAEJJF INKS LANDMARK PARTNERSHIP WITH ISRAELI JIU-JITSU FEDERATION
The UAEJJF etched history by entering into a pioneering collaboration with the International Association of Competitive Jiu-Jitsu in Israel by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote the growth of the sport in both countries, elevate the standard of jiu-jitsu through knowledge-sharing and expertise transfer initiatives, and promote people-to-people exchanges through competitions and training programmes organised specially for UAE and Israeli athletes, coaches, and administrators. As part of the collaboration, joint training camps for the UAE and Israeli national teams and professional athletes will also be scheduled in addition to special championships organised between the two countries.
HOMEGROWN STARS IMPRESS AT AL ITTIHAD JIU-JITSU CHAMPIONSHIP
UAE fighters stood tall at the Al Ittihad Jiu-Jitsu Championship, bringing home 13 gold medals in a total tally of 43 medals, emphatically establishing their dominance on the mat at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi.
UAE national team star Omar Al Fadhli, ensured that he finished off 2020 in style, clinching the gold with a flawless display in the 69 kg Adults class. Mohammed Al Kaabi (46 kg), Ammar Al Dhaheri (50 kg), Omar Al Suwaidi (55 kg), Mayed Al Shehhi (60 kg), Mahdi Al Awlaqy (81 kg), Saif Al Mansoori (94 kg) all claimed gold in the Under-18 category putting on strong performances. Battling performances from Hassan Sabeel and Abdullah Al Kubaisi saw both fighters claiming silver medals in the 94 kg and 120 kg Adults class, respectively.
In the female division, experienced campaigner Wadima Al Yafei added another gold medal to her collection, taking the top prize in the 45 kg Adults category. Hamda Al Shkeili joined her at the top of the podium in the 48 kg category while Alia Al Dhanhani beat off stiff competition in the 52 kg class to finish on top. In the Under-18 category, Ahoud Al Kaabi (48 kg), Mariam Al Hammadi (52 kg), Shamma Al Kalbani (63 kg) all clinched gold medals.
With the open belt Al Ittihad Jiu-Jitsu Championship billed to offer some crucial mat-time in the run-up to the 2021 season, the tournament received a strong response, attracting 141 players across weight classes in the male and female divisions.
FIGHTERS WELCOME INCREASE IN COMPETITIONS, HIGHER VISIBILITY WITH INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS AS KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM REVAMPED 2021 SEASON
The UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) has revamped its competition structure for the 2021 season and fighters from across clubs and age groups have given an emphatic stamp of approval to the additions made to the 2021 calendar and are confident that access to more competitions and the creation of individual rankings will spur performances on the mat and further bolster the UAE’s already-formidable jiu-jitsu community.
Faisal Al Ketbi, one of the UAE’s most-decorated athletes and a fighter who played a key role in his club, Baniyas’ run to the President’s Cup title in the previous season welcomed the increase in competition rounds and said that competitive mat time will be a critical factor in the coming season. “Due to the restrictions imposed by the spread of the pandemic, the 2020 year hasn’t been very noteworthy in terms of competitions. Yes, the UAEJJF did a fantastic job in arranging a number of training camps and internal competitions, but it is always difficult to replicate the challenge you are bound to face in high-quality tournaments like the President’s Cup and Vice President’s Jiu-Jitsu League,” he said.
“It will be really interesting to open up the field a little more. This past year, we have been a little restricted in terms of opponents. During the training camps, we were coming up against a limited set of fighters and it will be good to face fighters who fight differently and challenge you to improvise on the mat. I am really excited for this season, I think the quality of the sport is going to be really high,” said Al Ketbi.
WINTER TRAINING CAMP STRIKES RIGHT BALANCE BETWEEN JIU-JITSU AND ENJOYMENT FOR YOUNG FIGHTERS
Training under some of the UAE’s renowned jiu-jitsu coaches, working on their fitness through regular gym sessions, and forging new friendships through a range of recreational activities has seen the jiu-jitsu winter camp receive rave reviews from participants.
Ramon Lemos, head coach of the UAE national jiu-jitsu team, said that designing a schedule that struck the right balance between jiu-jitsu and other activities was crucial in getting the best out of the trainees and to foster a continued interest in the sport. He said, “We have a mix of boys here who are at different stages of development. A majority is just starting out in the sport and this is their first serious training camp. In this scenario, it is important that we do not over-train. We have to help the boys relax and switch off from jiu-jitsu and through football games, basketball drills, and swimming pool sessions, we are trying to help them build bonds with each other and enjoy themselves.”