AL AIN 22 October 2017: The Al Ain International Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship concluded on Saturday, at the UAE University in Al Ain city, with top Jiu-Jitsu athletes and international stars from more than 44 countries competing during the two days of competition. The Al Ain Championship was open to all local and international Jiu-Jitsu teams to participate in and all levels of skills and age groups were represented.
The Al Ain Championship was the second international championship to take place during the 2017-2018 sports season following the Ajman International Championship last month. The UAEJJF has always been keen to ensure the participation of UAE national team members in all international events in order to provide them with a professional training base, and to enrich their skills ahead of the upcoming International Colombia National Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship.
Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice President of the UAEJJF, praised the level of organization on display at this weekend’s Al Ain Championship, and the competitions that attracted many local, international, and regional professional athletes, underlining the Championship’s important position on the world Jiu-Jitsu agenda.
Al Dhaheri said that organizing this championship supports the UAEJJF’s strategy for fostering a Jiu-Jitsu culture within the domestic community, encouraging society to embrace a healthy lifestyle for generations to come: “We are very pleased to see the impressive performance of our national team during the championship, which affirms the athletes’ ability to compete at a range of international sporting events, continuing to achieve great feats this season and raise the name of our dear country high. I wish the very best for all participants in the Al Ain International Championship, whether they are local or international athletes, male or female, professionals or juniors.”
For his part, Mansoor Al Dhahiri, Board Member of the UAEJJF, said: “Jiu-Jitsu has become the most popular sport amongst our youth. Over these past few years, we have successfully reached out to thousands of school students to spread this sport, promote participation in it, and build a strong generation of future Jiu-Jitsu champions. The results of these efforts are evidently apparent from the advanced performance of athletes in local and international championships. The Al Ain Championship is a prime example of this, in addition to being one of the most important indicators of the UAE’s position on the field of Jiu-Jitsu. Our athletes are competing and excelling against athletes from countries with a long history in this sport.”
Al Dhaheri stressed the importance of the local championships, to which the UAEJJF is committed to organizing throughout the UAE. These competitions enhance the position of the city or the emirate where they are held and provide an opportunity for athletes from all over the country to test their skills and performance and prepare for upcoming international championships. It also helps increase social interaction with Jiu-Jitsu by attracting parents who are keen to attend and support their participating sons and daughters.
The Al Ain Championship is the first of its kind in the UAE where young athletes were participating in pro-categories. This demonstrated the readiness of these athletes to compete at the highest level and participate in all international events, representing the UAE in categories that are higher than their level, aiming to prepare them to compete with international peers.
Yousif Al Blooshi, Director of the Technical Department said: “Our main focus during this weekend’s championship in Al Ain has been the participation of the juveniles (U18) across different weight categories in the pro-categories. This is the first time this has happened and it comes after much introspection from the UAEJJF’s Technical Committee, in order that the juveniles compete, not only in the pro-categories, but against the very best pro’s themselves. Our aim is to simply develop these future fighters and provide them with the opportunity to interact with more advanced and experienced players than themselves, preparing them for upcoming international tournaments, with our main focus being Jakarta in 2018.”
The two days of the championship witnessed a remarkable level of performance and strong competition amongst the athletes who participated in the first day’s “No Gi”. It featured fights in 40 different categories across multiple different weight categories and belt colours. Athletes competed for global ranking positions, displaying the most advanced techniques on the mat.
The UAE athletes gave an admirable performance on the first day of the championship, with Mohammed Al Matroushi winning a gold medal in the 73 kg category, while Salim Ali Mubarak won the 46 kg junior gold medal, Hamad Al Ahbabi won the 50 kg junior gold medal, Salim Al Dhaheri won the 55 kg junior gold medal, Abdullah Al Monzeri won the 60 kg junior gold medal, Abdullah Al Hasmi won the 66 kg junior gold medal, Maher Al Tahir won the 73 kg junior gold medal, Khalifa Al Hashemi won the 60kg white belt gold medal, Abdul Rahman Al Barghouthi won the 75 kg white belt gold medal, Hamdan Al Balushi won the 83 kg purple belt gold medal, and Zayed Al Kaabi won the 108 kg brown belt gold medal.
Commenting on his victory, Hamad Al Ahbabi said “I am very happy with the success that I have achieved today, which is the result of my long-term efforts and training. I would like to thank my coach and family who supported me during preparations, and I look forward to more competitions and successes, God willing.”
The second day featured the “Gi” competitions for men and women in 110 categories of various weights for pros across various different colours of belts. The arena was lucky enough to witness world-class competitions as athletes showcased their skills to win gold medals. The best performing academies and local clubs were Commando Group who came first with 2,750 points, in second place was Al Ain Jiu-Jitsu Club with 1,700 points and in third place with 1,470 points was Team Nogueira Dubai.
The UAE athletes once again gave admirable performances on day two of the championship, with Ali Al Mashgari winning a gold medal in the 55kg category, Ali Mohammed Al Rashdi winning a gold medal in the 60kg category, Sari Al Ketbi winning a gold medal in the 46kg category, Khalid Al Ali winning a gold medal in the 46kg category, Mohamedd Al Asrai winning a gold medal in the 55kg category, Abdulla Sami Al Mentheri winning a gold medal in the 60kg category, Salem Mubarak Al Daheri winning a gold medal in the 94kg category, Abdulla Al Neibi winning a gold medal in the 69kg category, Hamad Mohamed Ali Nawad winning a gold medal in the 56kg category, Khalid Al Taher winning a gold medal in the 62kg category, Hamad Al Noaimi winning a gold medal in the 85kg category, Ahmed Ibrahim Murad winning a gold medal in the 94kg category, Khalid Al Kaabi winning a gold medal in the 110kg category, Khaled Al Darmaki winning a gold medal in the 85kg category, Mohamed Hamad Al Menhali winning a gold medal in the 69kg category, Saoud Al Hmmadi winning a gold medal in the 85kg category, Jassim Mubarak winning a gold medal in the 69kg category, Mohammed Salem Al Shamsi winning a gold medal in the 110kg category, Ibrahem Al Hammadi winning a gold medal in the 56kg category, Khalifa Al Hashmi winning a gold medal in the 62kg category, Abdulrahmann Al Barguthi winning a gold medal in the 77kg category, Rashed Mohammed Al Mheiri winning a gold medal in the 110kg category, Ali Hassan winning a gold medal in the 62kg category, Thamir Al Shamsi winning a gold medal in the 69kg category, Mohammed Hussein winning a gold medal in the 110kg category, Humaid Essa winning a gold medal in the 77kg category, Hamad Ali Nawad winning a gold medal in the 56kg category, Khalid Al Taher winning a gold medal in the 62kg category and Khalifa Humaid Al Kaabi winning a gold medal in the 69kg category.
Shamma Ibrahim winning a gold medal in the female 52kg category, Nada Juma Abdulaziz Al Blooshi winning a gold medal in the female 63g category, Sharifa Al Naamani winning a gold medal in the female 48kg category, Mahra Al Hinaai winning a gold medal in the female 57kg category, Afra Hasan Al Ali winning a gold medal in the female 63kg category, Latifa Humaid Abdulla Al Eryane winning a gold medal in the female 82kg category, Mariam Al Ameri winning a gold medal in the female 70kg category, Wadima Al Yafei winning a gold medal in the female 49kg category, Maha Al Hinaai winning a gold medal in the female 55kg category, Khawla El Hadj winning a gold medal in the female 62kg category, Bashyer Al Matrooshi winning a gold medal in the female 70kg category and Muna Al Marzooqi winning a gold medal in the female 49kg category.
For his part, Zayed Al Kaabi, a 110-kg brown belt athlete from the national team, said: “This championship represents a vital opportunity for us to prepare for future championships, the first of them being the Bahrain Championship next week. I trained harder before this championship because I knew that the level of competition would be strong and the performance of participating athletes from various countries was a big challenge for which I had to prepare.
For his part, Taleb Al Karbi, 77 kg black belt athlete from the national team, said: “The Al Ain Championship this year saw a wide range of athletes participate and a higher level of skills on display compared to previous years. I’m very happy to compete, particularly with the Colombia Championship on the horizon, which is one of the most important upcoming international events, so we had to prepare by participating in championships like this one which enhance our experience in facing international athletes and test our skills so that we can be fully prepared to represent our beloved country in future international championships.
Mohamed Hussain Al Marzooqi, Director of Marketing, Communication, and Finance at UAEJJF, said: “We are very proud of the strong strategic partnerships that the sport of Jiu-Jitsu enjoys in the UAE, which embodies the true essence of meaningful cooperation. These partnerships bolster the presence of Jiu-Jitsu in Emirati society, helping to raise awareness amongst the Emirati public. This contributes significantly to our efforts in securing the next generation of Emirati talent.”
Al Marzooqi also praised the great media support for Jiu-Jitsu, expressing thanks and appreciation to the media outlets who are always present at the various Jiu-Jitsu events across the UAE. He also added:
“We cannot but thank all the media outlets who are committed to providing a wide range of coverage, not just of the UAEJJF but also documenting the efforts of the national team, which contributes to the support of the UAEJJF and its new marketing strategy as well as the promotion of Jiu-Jitsu on the widest scale.”
Al Ain International Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2017 is supported by Mubadala Investment, Abu Dhabi Sport channels, Etihad Airways, the Interior Ministry, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Palms Sports, Emirates Global Aluminium, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Aafaq Islamic Finance, Louzan Fashion, Al Khaja Holding, Diamond Swords, United Al Saqer Group, and Cavallo Group. These partnerships aim to raise local and international awareness and interest in this sport, and serve to ensure that the public stays abreast all developments and results.
Ahmed Ateeq Al Dhaheri, Al Ain Area Manager, ADIB, was proud to sponsor this weekend’s championship, saying: “Al Ain International Jiu-Jitsu Championship is one of many initiatives ADIB is supporting in the field of Jiu-Jitsu, for the big role this sport plays in building a sense of belonging, confidence and strength within our youth. It is a sport that is not targeting a single age group or social class, rather is open for the public and suits all members of the society. We are proud of supporting this championship, being one of the leading banks that empowers rising generations.”
This year’s championship has established its position as a leading international Jiu-Jitsu event, attracting international athletes, most notably the Bahraini athlete Ali Al Manfredi, who won the 83 kg “No Gi” gold medal on the first day of the championship. Kuwaiti athlete Aqeel Yousef Abdullah won the 92 kg “No Gi” silver medal and expressed his happiness in participating in the championship and winning second place, saying:
“I’d like to thank the United Arab Emirates for its wonderful organization of this championship, which far exceeded our expectations, and I look forward to participating in upcoming international championships organized by the UAE.”
The UAEJJF honoured the UAE University volunteer team who participated in organizing the championship for their efforts in order to ensure the success of the championship and to organize it in a manner appropriate to its status. This is based on the UAEJJF’s commitment to supporting and attracting volunteer teams. This comes in line with the initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who launched the national platform for volunteering.
The UAEJJF affirmed that the UAE University volunteer team proved their success and excellence through organizing a championship of such high quality. Commenting on that, Ibrahim Al Baloushi, Head of Student Activities at UAE University, said:
“For the third year, UAE University students volunteered to help organize the Al Ain International Jiu-Jitsu Championship. This event adds to the volunteering experience of our students, and this year we have seen a large turnout of students who wanted to volunteer to participate in organizing this championship.”
Student Hamza Zahed, one of the members of the volunteer team, said:
“I’m very happy and proud of my contribution to organizing this year’s Al Ain International Championship, which helped me gain a lot of experience by working with the audience, fans, and athletes.”