UAE capital gears up for 10th anniversary of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

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The UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation is gearing up to host the 10th anniversary of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, which will put a host of famous competitors from within the UAE and across the world against each other to battle it out on the mats.

The action takes place over 13 days and will be held at the Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City from April 16-28.

To share the latest updates on the most prestigious event of its kind in the world, the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation has launched a dedicated website which features details on match schedules, activities and workshops taking place at the free-to-attend event championship.

This year’s edition not only celebrates a decade of champions, but also coincides with the Year of Zayed, which highlights the life and legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE.

Aligned with the core values of the Year of Zayed which include respect, human development, wisdom and sustainability, the championship will see a record number of participants both locally and globally across male and female categories.

Furthermore, through the continued effort by the UAE government and the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation to support people of determination to compete on an international level, spectators will also witness an unprecedented amount of participation from athletes in the Para Jiu-Jitsu category.

This year the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation has launched the “Champion Within”, an initiative that aims to inspire people to find the hero inside them through discovering their true potential.

With the world’s best Jiu-Jitsu athletes competing at the event, and plenty of the UAE’s very own talent also taking part, both jiu-jitsu practitioners and spectators alike will feel inspired to motivate the next generation, as every attendee is invited to tell their own story and encouraged to try the sport for the first time.

A strong new addition to this year’s line-up includes the first-ever “King of the Mat” competition. The event will see previous championship winners of the past nine years compete against each other.

With such a prestigious list of winners – including Rafael Mendes, Rodolfo Vieira, Leandro Ro and Buchecha to name just a few – it’s bound to be an edge-of-your-seat event for spectators, with some truly impressive jiu-jitsu taking place, not to mention a $200,000 prize to be shared between the medallists of the three weight divisions – light, middle, and heavyweight.

The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship will offer unprecedented prizes this year as a whole, with more than $1 million to be won.

It’s not just the competitors who will head home as winners, though, as guests and spectators will all have the chance to win exciting prizes as well, from the chance to take home a brand-new Range Rover Evoque, and daily giveaways, to other social media competitions throughout the event.

The 10th edition of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship takes place this month.

The 10th edition of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship takes place this month.

This year’s event promises fun for the entire family. There will be plenty of activities throughout the event, from a spectacular opening and prize-giving ceremony, to a show by the Abu Dhabi Police K9 Unit, and plenty more.

For fans looking for a quick bite between the matches, there are over nine different food trucks and kiosks to choose from, offering various different types of cuisines.

Among the top participating international athletes this year are Adolfo Correia, Ruben Lemos – the top ranked players in Africa; Youngam Noh and Joao Carlos Kuraoka – the champions of Asia; Krzysztof Flak and Adam Wardzinski from Europe, Matthew Leighton and Jonathan Satava from North America; Lachlan Giles and Ben Hodgkinson from Oceania and Igor Silva and Jose Lima from South America.

On a local level, the championship will see the participation of Faisal Al Ketbi, Talib Saleh, Obaid Al Kaabi, Ahmed Al Ketbi, Zayed Al Kaabi, Musabbeh Al Kateri, Abdulla Al Jneibi, Omar Al Mesmari, Mohamed Alamri, Hamdan Al Blooshi, Sultan Al Ali, Mariam Al Ameri and Zahra Al Hashmi.

In the para jiu-jitsu category, Khalifa Mohammed will be among the athletes of note.

A number of clubs from the UAE will also be participating, including Al Wahda Club Jiu Jitsu Academy, Al Ain Jiu Jitsu Club and Al Jazira Jiu-Jitsu Club.

The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship is sponsored by the UAE Ministry of Interior as a government partner; official media partner Abu Dhabi Media; strategic partner Palm Sports; lifestyle developer Emaar; exclusive automobile partner Premier Motors of Al Tayers Motors – Land Rover; as diamond partners Ministry of the Interior and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank; official sport channel Abu Dhabi Sports; content partner Sky News Arabia; energy partner ADNOC; gold partners Department of Tourism & Culture, Al Massaood, Emirates Global Aluminium; Dolphin Energy, Cavallo (Louzan fashion), Aafaq and ADASI; supporting partners Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK); along with silver partners Tawazun Economic Council, Senaat General Holding Corporation, Al Khajja Holding Group, United Al Saqr group and Lulu International Group.

Those interested in signing up for the tournament can do so online before April 10 at https://events.uaejjf.org/event/89.

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Faisal Al Ketbi and Igor Silva test world's longest zipline ahead of Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

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Igor Silva and Faisal Al Ketbi (r) try out the Jebel Jais Zipline.

Two of Jiu-Jitsu’s leading lights are preparing for the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship next month, but it’s good to see it’s not all about training and preparation for Faisal Al Ketbi and Igor Silva.

The thrill-seeking duo took flight at the Jebel Jais Zipline in Ras Al Khaimah on Saturday, with the Emirati Jiu-Jitsu champion and Brazilian black belt enjoying some downtime ahead of next month’s tournament.

The world’s longest zipline measures an impressive 2.8km in length, equivalent to over 28 football fields and spans the chasm of Jebal Jais, the UAE’s largest mountain peak at over 1,680m above sea level.

The launch of the world’s longest zipline is another milestone in Ras Al Khaimah’s campaign to transform the emirate into the region’s adventure and activity tourism hub.

The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and is celebrating champions in the Jiu-Jitsu world and in all aspects of life.

This year’s Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship is more than a world-renowned competition, it’s also a celebratory festival that promises fun for the entire family.

There will be plenty of activities throughout the event, from a spectacular opening and prize-giving ceremonies, to a show by the Abu Dhabi Police K9 Unit, and plenty more.

As the worldwide capital of Jiu-Jitsu, Abu Dhabi is positioned as a global hub for the sport and is fast becoming an international hub for sports and fitness activities in general.

Having Jiu-Jitsu as the UAE’s national sport further encourages the country to live the “healthy body, healthy mind” philosophy, and help to make the UAE a more health-conscious society.

The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship is sponsored by the UAE Ministry of Interior as a Government Partner; official media partner Abu Dhabi Media; strategic partner Palm Sports; Lifestyle Developer Emaar; Exclusive Automobile Partner Premier Motors of Al Tayers Motors – Land Rover; as Diamond Partners Ministry of the Interior and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank; Official Sport Channel Abu Dhabi Sports; Content Partner Sky News Arabia; Energy Partner ADNOC; Gold partners Department of Tourism & Culture, Al Massaood, Emirates Global Aluminium; Dolphin Energy, Cavallo (Louzan fashion), Aafaq and ADASI; Supporting Partners Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK); along with Silver Partners Tawazun Economic Council, Senaat General Holding Corporation, Al Khajja Holding Group and United Al Saqr group, and Lulu International Group.

Those interested in signing up for the tournament can do so online before April 10 at https://uaejjf.com.

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UAE residents Olga Zolotova and Mohamad Khalaf climbing higher peaks as they aim to help refugee children in the Emirates

Matt Jones 2/03/2018
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Olga and Mohamad on a previous climb of Kilimanjaro.

Dubai residents Olga Zolotova and Mohamad Khalaf have grand plans to ascend the world’s Seven Summits and are currently in the midst of their third, and most difficult, challenge yet – climbing Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua.

Standing at 6,962 metres tall (22,837ft), Aconcagua is the second-highest peak in the world behind Mount Everest.

Russian commodities trader Zolotova and Lebanese-Canadian export manager Khalaf may have relatively mundane-sounding occupations, yet the challenges they have undertaken in recent years in order to raise awareness for refugee children living in Dubai have been extraordinary.

Around 120 children, mainly from Syria, are being cared for and educated at the Emirates Red Crescent school in Dubai Festival City. They have missed years of the education in their war-torn homes and cannot yet enter the normal UAE school system.

So the purpose of the Red Crescent school is to push the kids through the transition period, give them some basic skills and prepare them for the exams required in order to enter the school system.

After previously climbing Africa’s Kilimanjaro in 2016, 27-year-old Zolotova and Khalaf, 30, conquered Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe, in Zolotova’s native Russia, last year. And they left for South America last month, beginning their voyage on February 12, hoping to take 18-20 days to complete their latest task, meaning they will be hoping to finish any day.

Olga and Mohamad are raising awareness of the superb work being done by the Emirates Red Crescent School in Dubai.

Olga and Mohamad are raising awareness of the Emirates Red Crescent School’s work.

“Mohamad and I are aiming to do Seven Summits, the highest points on each continent,” said the relentless Russian.

“We have already done two, Kilimanjaro, the highest in Africa, and Elbrus in Europe. And Aconcagua is almost 7,000 meters and will be our third summit.

“It will be first time in our lives we will cross above the 6,000m line. Up there every 100 meters makes a huge difference in terms of oxygen levels and altitude pressure and I know it will be a real challenge.

“It will take us 20 days in total to climb this mountain. So far the longest was Elbrus, which took around nine days. What it means we will have to go without a shower for an extra 11 days, carry more food, water and clothes, and that’s pretty heavy, around 20-25kg on your back.”

The Seven Summits are the highest mountains of each of the world’s seven continents. After Everest (8,848) comes Aconcagua, with Denali in Alaska third highest at 6,144m. Then comes Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro (5,895m), Elbrus (5,642m), Antarctica’s Vinson Massif (4,892m) and finally Puncak Jaya (4,884) in Indonesia.

“Aconcagua is the next step in mountaineering. Today I would not aim to climb Everest but after Aconcagua I might put Everest next on my list,” said an ambitious Zolotova, who completed Elbrus last year, but not without difficulties.

“That was the most difficult climb for both of us and our first summit attempt was a failure. On the way to the top, when we had around 300 meters left, we were hit by bad snow and a hail storm. It came out of nowhere, the cloud sat on the mountain, it became dark-white.

“But the most dangerous thing was the visibility, you couldn’t see beyond your nose. When you lose visibility on the mountain that’s one of the worst things that can happen; you can’t see the way, you don’t see the slopes, the edges, you are blind. We got lucky as we came down on time and safe.

“We had a flight in two days, we were supposed to leave. But we did not give up and next day after our failure we decided to attempt again. That day the weather was even worse, very windy and cold. But one thing was better, visibility. And we made it.

Olga and Mohamad have completed two of the Seven Summits.

Olga and Mohamad have completed two of the Seven Summits.

“It was a real mental and physical challenge but at the same time it prepared us a lot for the coming climb.”

Just like previous times, training regimes for the pair have been intense, including twice daily gym sessions for the past three months as well as dedicating their weekends to workouts as well.

“For the last three months we have been spending every morning in the gym, every evening on the running or cycling track and every weekend on local hikes in Ras Al Khaimah and Oman),” she said.

“Other really good and important exercises are stair runs, as it is a closest imitation to the real climb, and yoga, as it helps to control your breathing and stretch the muscles.

“But the physical training is just a small part of the success. What also matters a lot is your mental strength. The right mindset is way to the success. Up there in the cold, with altitude pressure and without basic amenities it can be quite easy to give up.

“What personally drives me and makes me keep going is the idea of us doing it to help others.

“The rest of success comes from the right gear and equipment, which has to be light, breathable and very warm in the same time. We personally chose Marmot gear for all our altitude climbs and we are confident it will survive -40 degrees cold and 65 km/h wind.”

With so much luxury surrounding us in the Emirates, it can become easy to lose sight of reality. But it is something this duo are well aware of.

“We both come from different cultures, backgrounds, we speak different languages but there is one big idea that unites us – we both believe in giving back to society,” added Zolotova.

“Multinational Dubai has become our home, and for the last three years we have been running charity campaigns for people of the UAE, Syria, Pakistan, Lebanon, African countries and others.

“Together we make a team with one simple logo – Sport for Health; Sport for Help. Behind our sport challenges there is always a bigger idea.

“We run, cycle and climb for people, by crossing hundreds of kilometers per day or climbing peaks of the continents we raise awareness of those who are in need and we send a message to society – we are here to help each other.”

Donation boxes to help with stationary items for the children at the Red Crescent school, which is run entirely by volunteers, were collected throughout February at Dubai’s Times Square Center.

The school is a haven for refugee children from war-torn countries.

The school is a haven for refugee children from war-torn countries.

Last year Zolotova and Khalaf’s cause was UAE labourers, now it is the next generation. The requirements to pass into the UAE education system is a tough and intense one year programme, both academically and socially.

“We want to dedicate our efforts to those special children,” she added.

“We would like to raise awareness of this amazing initiative by Red Crescent and tell people about the school. Our flag on the top of the South America will be raised for this small school.

“We really hope that next time we visit the school we will not see those 120 kids, though it might sound strange. As much as we love them we want to let them go and start proper education in the local schools, meet new friends and make their way.

“Next time we visit the school we hope to see new faces because there are other kids waiting to get same chance to start the new life.”

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