UAE and Asian Federations welcome Jair Bolsonaro to the Jiu-Jitsu Arena on Day Two of the 13th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu. WAM
The head of state toured the arena with world-famous Jiu-Jitsu coach and compatriot Renzo Gracie, and paused for photographs with Jiu-Jitsu fans and watching the action from the Masters competitions featuring athletes in the over 30 category, in the six-day event, 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.
Jair Bolsonaro (C-L) poses for a photo with a Jujitsuka upon his arrival at Brazil Pavilion of Expo 2020 Dubai. AFP
Al Hashemi said: "It was a real honour for us to welcome President Bolsonaro to the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. His presence shows just how much the sport is growing, here in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, and it gives the athletes a real lift to see such high-profile interest in the event.
"The UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation has plans to host future championships in Brazil, helping to discover new talents in a country which has over 2.5 million registered players and 20,000 academies. We are always happy to host Brazilian champions in the UAE."
Gracie, one of the biggest names in the history of Jiu-Jitsu, praised the tournament organisers for this year’s event. He said: "Here, Jiu-Jitsu is everything, and to be here is a real honour. This is the best competition I have seen in my life, and the event gets better everyyear. The organisers are doing a beautiful job."
President Bolsonaro said: "The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship is an exciting event as it showcases the evolution of the sport in the UAE, and the growth of Jiu Jitsu across the world."
Jair Bolsonaro (C-L) is greeted by a Jujitsuka upon his arrival at Brazil Pavilion of Expo 2020 Dubai. AFP
Following on from the junior action on opening day, it was the turn of the Masters — contestants over 30 — to take to the mat in the blue and purple belt categories on day two of the event which brings 4,000 contestants together for six days of high-quality competition.
The Commando Group managed to take the lead in the first day of the Masters cateogry with 123,920 points, ahead of Sharjah Self-Defence Sports Club with 52,800 points, and the Checkmat International in third with 44,000 points.
Mathias Engstrom was thrilled to claim gold in the Masters 2 77kg category for purple belts, after travelling from Sweden with the Stark Jiu-Jitsu club. The 37-year-old said: "I love competing and it’s always such an energy boost coming to Abu Dhabi and competing against all these excellent competitors. I’ve been competing for about four and a half years, and I love it. It is such a professional event, the venue is fantastic and the competition is very fierce."
Daniel Fernandez Paz, a 36-year-old purple belt representing the Bad Boys Jiu Jitsu club from Belgium, was delighted to take goldin the Masters 1 85kg category just four years after crossing over from Judo, where he was a black belt. He said: "The last few months were very difficult for me as I have been working very hard, but winning a gold medal today makes everything worth it. I used to be a black belt in Judo but I have been practicing Jiu-Jitsu for three and a half years now, it was challenging to change but worthwhile."
Abdulkhamid Magomedov claimed gold in the Masters 3 85kg category at purple belt after travelling with the Abubakarova Club from the Republic of Dagestan for his second competitive contest in the UAE. The 41-year-old said: "I am proud and happy to win first place, I hope to keep competing and practicing until I reach the top and compete on an international level at black belt. Out of all the international competitions I have competed in over the years, I feel that this is the best organised, I am very impressed with this event."
The female athletes were also battling it out on the mat at Masterslevel, and Bianca Antman from the All Stars Training Centre in Sweden was thrilled with gold at Blue belt in the 55kg category, in her first visit to Abu Dhabi. She said: "It feels amazing to win at such an incredible event, it was so well organised and professionally run. My future plans are to win first place in all belts; I have won in white, and now in blue, so I plan on proceeding with all the belts and hopefully winning first place with every colour."
One of the pioneers of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in UAE, Rafael Haubert, celebrated a decade of success in the country this month. A renowned instructor and esteemed mentor,
Last year was a game changer for jiu-jitsu in the UAE, with more homegrown talent competing, and winning in local and international events on mats.
In response to high demand, the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJ) has fast-tracked the opening of registrations for the 14th edition of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (ADWPJJC).
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