Faisal Al Ketbi's wait for black belt gold in Abu Dhabi World Pro goes on as Felipe Pena and Erberth Santos reign supreme

Denzil Pinto 28/04/2018
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We are the champions: Winners pose with their medals

Faisal Al Ketbi will have to wait for another 12 months to win an Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu gold in black belt after he had to settle for silver on Saturday.

After unsuccessful attempts in 2016 and 2017, Al Ketbi went into the 85kg final hoping to make it third time lucky on his home patch.

Brazil’s Isaque Braz stood in his way at the Mubadala Arena but despite a spirited display in front of a vocal home support, the UAE top-ranked fighter fell short in his quest, losing 2-0.

Al Ketbi did not speak to the media but Braz was thrilled to have won his third gold in the capital after triumphing in blue and brown belts in previous years.

“For me it was a normal victory,” said the 22-year-old. “I didn’t feel any pressure against a home favourite because every day I train and compete with world champions so the fight against Faisal Al Ketbi was just another match for me.

“It was a hard match because he is a great competitor but I’m happy to win gold here.”

There was more UAE disappointment as Talib Saleh lost to Brazilian Thiago Marques in the Black Masters 1.

The South Americans showed their dominance on the mat, winning five of the six men’s matches.

Felipe Pena, who had won four golds in Abu Dhabi, made it five as he came out on top against Poland’s Adam Wardzinski. Pena, winner of the Open category in 2016, used all his experience to claim a convincing 4-0 win in the black 94kg final.

“Winning gold was one of my objectives before I came to Abu Dhabi,” said Pena, who won all his seven matches. “I felt really good coming into the tournament because of the way that I trained at home. This is the World Pro and there are no easy matches in the competition.”

His compatriot Erberth Santos added to Brazil’s tally, needing just 62 seconds to defeat Lucio Rodrigues of Great Britain in the 110kg final.

“I’m very happy to win this title because it’s one of the best in the world,” said Santos, who last year was beaten in the same division last year.

“Winning and losing is part of the game and last year it was hard for me. I put in a lot of hard work in training and I came back hard and won gold.”

Twin Joao and Paulo Miyao gave Brazil even more reason to celebrate by winning the 62kg and 69kg divisions respectively.

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Watch the global's best stars at the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

Denzil Pinto 22/04/2018
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The world’s best athletes will descend on the UAE this week as the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship returns for its 10th edition.

Not only can you watch the exciting battles for free, there’s also plenty of activities to keep you and your family busy as well as winning some attractive prizes.

All eyes will be on the Mubadala Arena from Tuesday until Saturday as more than 2,000 will take to the mat over the five days.

Since launching in 2009, the competition has gone from strength to strength, attracting the world’s best to the capital. It will be the same this time round while UAE’s Faisal Al Ketbi will be aiming to claim his first gold in the black belt in this competition.

The Mubadala Arena has already attracted big numbers after hosting the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival since last Sunday and with the main event set to begin, UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation chairman Abdeulmonem Al Hashemi believes attending the competition will inspire more people to take up the sport.

“We have a great responsibility in uncovering new talents and supporting thousands of champions. It is crucial to continue opening up new training opportunities and access to international events,” he said. “All of this contributes to the establishment of a world-leading model, and we are proud of this sporting experience that has placed us at the forefront of the global sports scene.”

He added: “Ten years after launching this event, we feel proud of our successes in spreading Jiu-Jitsu throughout the country, as well as the sports regional and global achievements. This sport promotes the values of patience, endurance, discipline and courage. As a result, it plays a major role in building the upcoming generation.”

Throughout the event, there will also be a dedicated children’s area that caters for fans and family. Children can look forward to face-painting, arts and crafts, while there are a range of cultural activities including Arabic calligraphy, falconry and henna drawings.

Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, CEO of the UAEJJF, added: “The tenth edition of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championship is one of the largest sports events in the world and has become the most important international event for the UAE and the global Jiu-Jitsu agenda. As such, the Championship has imbued a sense of pride among Emiratis, since it is one of the most significant national products.”

What: Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

Where: Mubadala Arena, Abu Dhabi

When: Tuesday April 24 until Saturday, April 28

Contact: For more information, visit www.uaejjf.org

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Emirati school girls impress at Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival

David Cooper 18/04/2018
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The Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival 2018 continued its third day successfully with Emirati schoolgirls from ten to 19 years old and across a range of belts competing for the top ranks in the School Jiu-Jitsu National Championship.

Results from day one for the cycle two age group, which includes competitors aged 10 to 15, saw Al Reef School take first place with five gold medals, five silvers and eight bronzes.

Al Erteqaa School came second place overall with four gold, three silver and four bronze medals, while Hessa bin Mohamed School finished in third place, with a total of three gold medals, five silver and four bronze.

Meanwhile, in cycle three, for the 16 to 19 age bracket, Um Kulthoom School stormed to victory with six gold, one silver and five bronze medals. Al Shahama School arrived in a close second place, with four gold medals, four silvers and one bronze, with Al Shiyam School finishing third three gold, one silver and one three bronze.

White-belt athlete Rawda Al Dhaheri, age 14, said: “I started playing Jiu-Jitsu since grade six, and was taught it at school as an integral part of the curriculum. It taught me a lot of important values, including self-confidence. I started preparing for the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival a long time ago — training and sticking to a healthy food system. I was encouraged most by my mother. I’m proud to be taking part in this year’s Championship in the Year of Zayed, and I’m pleased with the standards of the organisation and the outstanding facilities. It’s a very comfortable environment to be competing in.”

Ibtisama Mohammed, a 14-year-old yellow belt weighing in at 48kg, said that she has discovered many values and principles through Jiu-Jitsu, including respect, responsibility and rising to a challenge. She looks forward to receiving her orange belt after the tournament, for which she has put in a lot of effort and preparation.

“I’ve worked hard to learn from my mistakes in the past, which have allowed me to improve my performance,” she said.

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