Al Ain Club retained the President’s Jiu-Jitsu Cup for the second year in a row after the fifth and final round in Abu Dhabi.
At the Mubadala Arena, in Zayed Sports City, the Garden City topped the round with 3,376 points, while Al Wahda were second with 2,535 points. Al Jazira finished third with 1,982 points.
Khamis Obeid Al Kaabi, president of the Al Ain expressed his delight in the achievement. He said: “We dedicate this valuable win to His Highness Sheikh Hazaa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and to all board members. It is a valuable achievement for us, especially that we started our preparations all the way back last year. We are very proud to hold the title of the President’s Jiu-Jitsu Cup, and we look forward to further achievements.”
Abdulmoneim Al Hashimi, president of the UAE and Asian Jiu-Jitsu Federations and Vice President of the International Federation of Jiu-Jitsu, added: “Year after year, we see major improvements in this tournament. We are witnessing a rich Jiu-Jitsu season, and with the new rounds that have been added, and the new format the championship will take next year, we are looking forward to more success.”
Mr. Khalid Al-Hinai, Chairman of Al-Wahda Sports Club, and Mr. Mansour Al-Dhahiri, Board Member of the #UAEJJF, crown our winners at the Final Round of the #JiuJitsu President's Cup. pic.twitter.com/0AUDk8JrP0— UAEJJF (@uaejjf) March 24, 2018
On the new format, Al Hashimi explained: “The championship will take a first and second leg format next year, where clubs compete against each other in various rounds. A club needs to gain more medals and points in the two legs to qualify for the next stage. This will make the tournament more challenging and exciting at the same time.”
The UAE national team will step up their preparations for next year’s Asian Games by competing in multiple competitions after the new season calander was announced by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) yesterday.
The sport makes its debut in the Indonesia showpiece event a year from now, and with the UAEJJF wanting to make a big impression in Jakarta, they are leaving nothing to chance for their best fighters.
They have been entered in four global tournaments beginning with next week’s Asian Championships (August 11-13) in Vietnam, with their last event at November’s World Beach Championship in Colombia.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Slams in Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, London and Abu Dhabi will also serve as preparation, and Fahad Al Shamsi, CEO of the UAEJJF, believes the number of tournaments will only aid the national team.
“We are giving full attention to our local events but, as a federation, we are also focused on our national team, because we have more than seven championships coming up this season,” said Al Shamsi, speaking at the calendar launch at Abu Dhabi’s Ritz Carlton Hotel.
“All these championships will be good preparation for the national team ahead of the Asian Games. We give a lot of opportunities for our young players with the aim to build a strong team behind our senior team.”
When it comes to jiu-jitsu in Ireland, then there’s no name more synonymous than Chris Bowe.
With more than a decade of experience under his belt, the 32-year-old black belt competitor has made a name for himself in his native homeland and it’s not just down to his medal collection.
While his trophy cabinet includes multiple World and European Championship medals, as well as his first silver (110kg) at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (ADWPJJC) on Saturday, teaching the tricks of the game as head coach at his Gracie Barra Dublin gym remains one of his priorities.
And it’s definitely not easy considering he’s juggling life as a full-time PE teacher at Drimnagh Castle Secondary School and being a husband to wife Magba and father to their three-year-old daughter.
“I have a very forgiving wife who allows me to go straight from my work as a teacher, to my gym and teach until 11pm at night most of the time,” said the Dundrum-based grappler.
“She puts up with it all the time although I have cut down on the hours in the gym on weekends so I can spend more family time.
“Usually my family wouldn’t come to Abu Dhabi for the World-Pro but I promised them that this year I would bring them along and it was great to have their support.”
His participation at the ADWPJJC came at a perfect time for Bowe. The school was closed for the Easter holidays, presenting another chance to add to his ever-growing trophy cabinet.
A veteran of the ADWPJJC for six years, it was only a matter of time before he claimed a medal, but he admittedly surprised himself by winning silver in the 110kg final.
“To be honest, not a long of people at the school know that I’m a jiu-jitsu athlete,” he said. “I don’t tell the kids and some only find out because they’ve seen something on YouTube or Instagram. When they do ask, then that’s when I tell them. Some of them say they can still beat me but it’s good to know they are interested.”
Since opening his gym on Dundrum’s main street in 2012, it has become the hotspot for potential jiu-jitsu athletes.
“The sport is becoming more popular especially combat sports with Conor McGregor competing in UFC,” he said. “Jiu-jitsu has its place and is now becoming really popular. When I first started training jiu-jitsu, there were just three gyms where you could train in Dublin but now there around 20 in the city alone.
“What makes me more proud is that some of my students have opened their own gyms elsewhere in the UK. I encouraged them to do that and that is good for their development which enhances the profile of the sport in Ireland.
“Now I’m black belt, I’m not looking to get as many world titles as possible. I will continue taking each fight as it comes and give me best.”