Global jiu-jitsu’s flagship competition will see top international stars lock horns and compete for a slice of the Dhs2.7million prize purse.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Over 2000 athletes will descend on Abu Dhabi as the UAE capital readies to host the 12the edition of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship that kicks-off on Tuesday at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena.
The ADWJJC, running from April 6-9, is the largest and most prestigious event on the global jiu-jitsu calendar and the 12th edition of the showpiece tournament will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces.
Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice President, UAEJJF, said that Abu Dhabi’s status as the capital of jiu-jitsu brought with it a lot of responsibility and trust which the UAEJJF and the ADWPJJC are keen to justify. “Today, Abu Dhabi is the unrivalled international home of jiu-jitsu and we have committed to ensure that the ADWPJJC’s latest edition adds another feather to our cap.
“The global jiu-jitsu community has given us an enthusiastic response and fighters from all over the world are here to compete on the grandest stage of global jiu-jitsu. Protecting the health and wellness of all our participants is our top priority and we have taken a lot of care to ensure that our comprehensive set of health and safety protocols will put everyone’s mind at ease and allow them to focus on performing to the best of their abilities on this huge platform,” he said.
Zayed Al Katheeri, one of the UAE’s most talented jiu-jitsu fighters, and who competes in the 56-kg weight class said that the opportunity to face-off against the leading athletes in the world after a long break was something he was looking forward to. “I am very excited to compete in the purple belt category and I am really looking at putting in a strong performance. The ADWPJJC is one of the toughest tournaments in the world with the quality of talent that it attracts and doing well on this stage is doubly sweeter. I have been working hard on my preparations and also studying videos of prospective opponents to identify areas of improvement and gain an understanding of different fighting styles,” he said.
Tareq Annzee, jiu-jitsu purple belt holder from Jordan, competing 85-kg weight category at the Master 1 division said: “The popularity of jiu-jitsu is on a rise in Jordan, and certainly having a global championship in ADWPJJC in Abu Dhabi year after year plays a big part in that growth. With all the restriction going on in the sport globally, I am very fortunate to be able to compete in the sport that I love against the best of the world, in a safe environment.”
Black belt holder Gutemberg Pereira from Brazil said that after a year of cancelled events and uncertainty, he was glad to be on the plane to Abu Dhabi to compete at what is the highlight of the global jiu-jitsu season.
“I am very thankful to the UAEJJF for organising the 12th edition of the ADWPJJC in these unprecedented times. Us athletes are happiest to get the chance to go on to the mat and do what we love. The atmosphere in Abu Dhabi is always fantastic and very motivating, and the people here really love jiu-jitsu. I am confident that I will put in a strong showing and finish the ranking season in the best possible manner,” he said.
For 29-year-old Beatriz Mesquita, competing and performing well at the ADWPJJC is integral to her growth as a fighter with the Championship providing her the chance to take on the best in the world and gain an in-depth understanding of her progress. “There was a lot of uncertainty in the previous year but we were confident that the UAEJJF would ensure that the ADWPJJC goes ahead. That was something that was driving me and my fellow fighters to keep on working hard, keep fit, and train with a goal in mind,” she said.
Mesquita won the gold medal in the 62 kg adults category at the previous edition and her preparation to add another to her cabinet is on in full swing. “I am feeling really good about the competition and I have started studying the fighters I am likely to face more closely now and begun formulating plans for each of them,” she said.
Action at the 12th edition of the ADWPJJC begins on Tuesday with under-18 athletes taking to the mats at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena, followed by the masters category on April 7.
The final two days of the competition are reserved for high-octane action in the professional division which will see top male and female stars of global jiu-jitsu go toe-to-toe on the road to glory.
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