Humaid Al Kaabi is bracing himself for a tough season ahead as he makes his adult category debut today at the opening round of the Jiu-Jitsu President’s Cup in Al Ain.
The 17-year-old schoolboy will be among 180 competitors from various clubs in action at the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Stadium as the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s (UAEJJF) domestic season officially begins in the Garden City.
It will be a new challenge for Al Kaabi, having excelled in the junior competitions, winning tournaments in Madrid and Athens earlier this year, before getting his hands on gold at the Abu Dhabi World Youth Championship in April.
Another gold at next year’s Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship remains one of his main goals for the campaign and while that is nine months away, Al Kaabi decided to step up to adult earlier than he had planned.
“I will be fighting in the adult category and this will be my first tournament,” said Al Kaabi, who will be competing for Al Ain in the Under-69kg division in today’s competition. “I was going to begin in the adult division in the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam next year but I decided to start early as I want to get enough experience before the Grand Slam and also get ready for the Abu Dhabi World Pro.”
As well as proving himself with the best adults, Al Kaabi also has to juggle jiu-jitsu with his final year at school – but it’s a challenge he is relishing. “It will be very hard for me this year, as it is my last year in school and my first year in the adult category,” added the teenager, who hopes to study mechanical engineering in California in the future.
“More work in jiu-jitsu, more work at school, but I will do my best to balance it.”
He will be aiming to get as much experience in his home city before representing the UAE at next week’s Asian Championships in Vietnam. It’s one of four tournaments for the national team ahead of their Asian Games debut in 2018.
“We have one more week of training before the championship. The team is more than ready, and we will get a good result at the Games,” he added.
The President’s Cup will involve all major UAE clubs over five rounds with the final scheduled for Abu Dhabi in March.
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