Adam Wardzinski, European athlete of the year at the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Awards, fears that if the sport is included in the Olympic Games, the rules could be changed just like judo that would affect the quality of matches.
Jiu-Jitsu continues to grow rapidly with the sport practised by thousands around the world, especially here in the UAE. However the International Olympic Committee are yet to be convinced that it’s worthy of a place on their programme roster.
That is despite the sport making its debut at the Asian Beach Games in 2014 and then the Asian Indoor Games, as well as the inaugural 2017 World Beach Games in San Diego.
Jiu-jitsu will take another step forward when it makes its debut at this year’s Asian Games in Indonesia, which UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation chairman Abdulmunam Al Hashemi is hopeful that a strong competition can boost their bid of making the Olympics one day.
If jiu-jitsu is accepted by the IOC, it would join judo and karate on the programme. Judo has been on the Olympic roster since the 1964 edition in Tokyo but their sport’s governing body have set out new rules for the 2020 Games. It’s part of their goal in trying “to promote the rules of judo and make them easier to understand, as well as to simplify them”.
For Wardzinski, he believes that with so many elite competitions taking place across the world, it’s not essential for jiu-jitsu to be accepted by the IOC, but would be concerned if rules are implemented to make it more spectator friendly.
“It can be included in the roster and there’s nothing that jiu-jitsu doesn’t have that Olympic sports have,” the 27-year-old, who finished runner-up in the 94kg final at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, told Sport360.
“I think the Asian Games is good for viewers but to be honest, I don’t think it’s highly needed for us athletes to bring jiu-jitsu into Olympics.
“Changes are mostly done to make jiu-jitsu safe for the white belts and same for black belts, but to be honest, if jiu-jitsu is included in the Olympics, it will mess up with the rules and could end up like judo. It would be less options in fighting, like no ripping down the pants and all that stuff. That’s what I’m afraid, but we’ll see.
“Maybe it will go in a good way. For me, I’m enjoying the phase of jiu-jitsu that it is today and right now it’s good for jiu-jitsu. If it goes to Olympics, then it goes.”
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