UAE jiu-jitsu stars secured an incredible 18 medals, including six gold, in front of their passionate and vocal home support on the second day of adult competition at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2014.
The free-to-attend event sees the world’s best judokas compete for the title of Best Professional Jiu- Jitsu fighter in their belt category.
Emirati Fighters Eid Reehan (male blue/purple belt, master 2, +100kg) and Taleb Saleh (male blue/purple belt, master 1, 70kg)set the tone early on, securing a gold medal each for their home country.
They were soon followed by Musabbeh Mohamed Khateri (male white belt, master 1, 70kg), Khaled Saleem (male white belt, adult +100kg), Ibrahim Abdalla Al Naqbi (male white belt, adult, 94kg) and Jaber Al Darai (male blue/purple belt, master 1, 82kg.
Taking home silver medals for the UAE were Mohammed Darwish, Abdulaziz al Jaberi, Hamad Al Dhuhouri, Hassan Al Rumaithi and Obaid Khamis Al Kaabi, while it was bronze for Shehab Ahmed Hawai, Mustafa Bashir Faraj,Khasooni, Ahmad Suhail Al Ketbi, Mohammed Naser Al Musaabi and Khalfan Humaid.
Shamsa Hassan took home the bronze medal in the female blue belt, adult, 60kg category.
“It was an especially proud day as our Emirati fighters collected their medals in front of packed stands,” said Abdulmunem Al Hashemi, chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and president of the Asian Jiu-Jitsu Union.
“With one more day to go, the championship is building to an incredible crescendo.”
The UAE dominated the World Jiu- Jitsu Children’s Cup with a rich haul of 25 gold, 31 silver and 65 bronze medals as the event came to a close on Wednesday.
The hosts made a clean sweep in the boys’ categories including in the (white belt) 62.5kg category and the 50.5kg, won by Hadaf Jarman Alhababi and Saif Ahmed Hadrami respectively.
The UAE also dominated in the girls’ category, with May Mohammed Almazrouei and Shma Ahmed Almansoori triumphing in the (yellow- orange belt) +66kg and whitegrey 62.5kg categories respectively.
The day saw hundreds of youngsters showcasing their skills and talent in front of a full crowd at the newly opened First Gulf Bank Arena (FGB Arena) at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi.
Speaking after the action, Abdulmunam Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and President of the Asian Jiu-Jitsu Union, praised all the participants in the competition.
He said: “Today has been an incredible precursor to a competition that has become so well known in the Jiu-Jitsu community, both here and abroad.
“The fights between this generation of Jiu-Jitsu fighters has been tremendous to watch and encouraging to all who have witnessed their intensity and courage in competing at this international level. With some spellbinding performances throughout the day, both from the boys and the girls, I look forward to seeing these fighters evolve over the years.”
Today, the men’s and women’s categories will get under way for what will be the sixth edition of the popular tournament. More than 2,500 will compete over the next three days.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star Urijah Faber hailed the importance of the Children’s Cup as the curtain raiser for the 2014 Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship got under way on Tuesday.
More than 650 schoolboys took to the mat on day one with the FGB Arena set to host a further 600 boys and girls today, taking the total number of participants in the competition past 1,200.
Faber, a former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) featherweight champion and currently No15 on the UFC’s pound for pound list, was a guest of honour in the capital and was impressed by what he saw.
“The level of competition here is pretty awesome, you’re really giving these kids something big to work up towards,” he said. “Obviously there’s a lot of thought gone into this, to see these young kids showing all their hard work and for their discipline pay off is pretty neat.”
While there were emblems of Brazilian jiu-jitsu clubs, such as Al Jazira, on display at the FGB Arena many of the young participants were sporting school issue uniforms.
The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) introduced the sport into the curriculum of 14 schools in 2008 but in just two years that number had increased to 46 schools and more than 7,000 pupils from grade six upwards.
Growing up in America, Faber, who has a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, could only have dreamt of such a programme.
“I’m sure we’re going to see some really talented adults come out of this programme,” he added. “It would be a great idea to incorporate that [In American schools] you would learn so much from the grappling world. I would love to see America adopt that.
“We have wrestling in schools in a lot of the US but the jiu-jitsu side, the wrestling side all of it teaches so much character.”
Young Emirati judokas dominated day one taking gold in 35 categories, in front of more than 2,000 fans.
Twelve-year-old Fares Mohammed took gold in the yellow belt 38.5kg field.
“It feels good to win my first medal because sometimes I play with strong players and sometimes I play with players but they are almost all strong here,” he said.
Fourteen-year-old Ali Abdulrahman, who won the orange belt 58.5kg category, added: “It feels good to win. It’s my life, jiu-jitsu.
“I want to put the UAE name at the top of the world of jiu-jitsu.”