UAE’s top-ranked Faisal Al Ketbi and newly-crowned World No.1 pair Jose Junior and Nathiely Melo De Jesus were among the big winners at the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Awards Sunday night.
Organised by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJFF), the achievements of the best Emirati and international athletes were honoured for their excellence this season at a glittering ceremony at Emirates Palace.
Al Ketbi was named Best UAE Black Belt and Emirati Player of the Year after winning various medals including gold at the Asian Championships and two silvers at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slams.
“I’m very happy to win this top award as it was a long and hard season and I want to thank everyone for their support and belief in me,” he said after receiving the award from Sheikh Diab bin Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
It came just 24 hours since he fell short of his quest of his first-ever black belt gold at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (ADWPJJC) and he made it clear that is now the aim for next year.
“For sure that is now the target and I want to achieve a lot. We have the Asian Games in September and a World Championship in Poland. Hopefully I can win more medals next year.”
For Brazilian duo Abu Dhabi-based Junior and Melo De Jesus, their Best International Male and Female Black Belt of the Year accolades, was a fitting end to a memorable season. Junior, 32, and De Jesus, 21, not only won their respective 110kg and 90kg black belt titles at the ADWPJJC but also clinched the UAEJJF World No.1 titles.
“I want to thank everyone for their support and the UAE have been working really hard in promoting the sport,” said Junior. “It was really hard to get this award and it is definitely one that is nice winning.”
Among the winners in the 18 categories was Emirati Omar Al Fadhli, who was named Best UAE Male Youth Player.
The 17-year-old, who became the youngest member to represent the UAE senior national team last year, said: “It’s really good to win this and it was one year of hard work, sacrifice and sweat. This is just the start and next year I want to go and win even more awards.”