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UAE, Kazakhstan youngsters shine on Day 1 of Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

ABU DHABI: The 14th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship kicked off on Friday at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Zayed Sports City with athletes from around the world taking part in the Kids and Para categories.

Running until Nov. 19, under the patronage of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, president of the UAE, one of the largest and most prestigious events on the global calendar will see 5,000 athletes from more than 100 nations competing in the UAE capital.

Friday’s action saw athletes in the Kids 1,2,3, Infant, Junior, Teen, and Youth divisions, as well as those in the Para Jiu-Jitsu divisions, compete in a series of matches on 11 mats, and UAE topped the medal list with Kazakhstan and Russia occupying second and third places.

In the competition for academies and clubs, the UAEJJ Team took the lead while the Kazakhstan National Academy emerged as runner-up, followed by Team Gladiators in the third place.

Mohammed Salem Al-Dhaheri, vice chairman of the UAEJJF, said: “The Jiu-Jitsu World Championship that Abu Dhabi hosted lately is still receiving accolades from all around the world. In less than a week after the event got over, the next championship returns with the presence of thousands of players from all four corners of the world.”

“The success of the championship year after year and participation of the elite players would not have been possible without the unfaltering support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, president of the UAE, as well as the instructions and constant guidance from His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office. Today, the UAE has positioned itself as a world leader in jiu-jitsu and is the main contributor to the development of Jiu-Jitsu sport in the entire world,” he said.

Al-Dhaheri congratulated all the winners for their outstanding performances on the mats today and complimented the large crowd that had gathered in the gallery to support the athletes.

The high level of attendance at the championship, according to Meera Al-Suwaidi, a member of the Federal National Council, showed that it was already a success.

“It is important to note the fantastic atmosphere on the first day of the 14th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. The participating players’ intense performance, the presence of their parents, and the massive spectators that filled the stands give a hint that the current version will stand out,” she said.

Several parents of athletes competing in the championship expressed their delight at the atmosphere they experienced on the opening day of the competition, one of them being the father of bronze medalist Hamdan Basaloum.

“My son Hamdan took home a bronze medal, it has significantly boosted his morale and self-confidence. We appreciate the wise leadership’s ongoing support of jiu-jitsu and the organizers of this amazing event,” he said.

Elsewhere, the mother of Ezzedine Bassam said that she had appeared at the championship for the first time.

“Jiu-jitsu is a wonderful game, and we chose it right for my son Izzedine to play because it introduces the player to the atmosphere of tournaments quickly,” she said.

The championship is distinguished by the large presence of the Brazilian community. Mikey Ritter from Brazil, a black belt in jiu-jitsu, has enrolled three of his children for the championship: “Marcelo, Ryan and Maria are three of my children who are competing in today’s events, and they all have a great passion for this activity. As a black belt in jiu-jitsu, I can relate to them and I give them all the support they need to pursue their goals.”

Brazilian Elcirley Silva, who participated in the Para jiu-jitsu division, remarked that the sport gave him new life after an accident in which he lost his leg.

“I had a number of friends share success stories involving this sport, so I made the decision to get involved in it. It changed my life. I am now presenting myself to the world as a medal winner,” he said.

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