The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2019 (ADWPJJC), held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, will be the best to date both in terms of the quality of competing athletes and overall organisation, according to the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF), the championship organiser.
The UAEJJF, the official authority for the sport in the Emirates, has revealed preparations for the 11th edition of the championship - the pinnacle of the global sport - are progressing well with thousands of elite athletes from around the world ready for seven days of captivating world-class action. ADWPJJC 2019 runs from 20-26 April at Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi.
His Excellency Abdulmunem Al Mohammed Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAEJFF, addressed a press conference at the St. Regis Corniche, Abu Dhabi, in which he confirmed this year’s championship will once again welcome the sport’s elite from more than 100 countries, as he announced registration is now closed with all categories at full capacity.
The press conference was attended by H.E. Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council; Mr. Yaqoob Al Saadi, Director of Abu Dhabi Sport Channels; Mr. Tareq Zeyad Al Ameri, Deputy Executive Director, Licencing Sector at the Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK); Mr. Fouad Fahmi Darwish, General Manager, Palms Sports; Mr. Ahmad Thani Al Matrooshi, Managing Director, Emaar Properties; Mr. Saeed Hijazi, Assistant General Manager – Sales Jaguar and Land Rover, Premier Motors; Mr. Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, Chief Executive Officer, UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation.
As the Federation readies to take the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship into its second decade following 10 years of success, Al Hashemi maintains the championship is now the most important event on the international jiu-jitsu calendar.
“This is the world’s largest jiu-jitsu event and we have been working hard to finalise the tournament in line with the vision of Abu Dhabi as the global home of jiu-jitsu,” said Al Hashemi.
“This tournament represents a real example of the importance of teamwork and cooperation between sports federations and public and private sector institutions. We thank all our partners for the success of this edition, which represents a tournament for the UAE and the world - not just for Abu Dhabi."
Established heroes and new challengers meet in Abu Dhabi
Al Hashemi revealed the 2019 championship has recorded tremendous growth on various levels, including the calibre of athletes. Registration is now closed with every category reaching its capacity. This year’s event has seen a 12 percent increase in the number of black belts compared with 2018.
Jiu-jitsu heroes from the sport’s traditional heartlands such as Brazil, UK, US and the UAE will be joined by athletes from 12 emerging countries in jiu-jitsu - including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Angola - in Abu Dhabi.
In the men’s main event, world no.1 Joao Gabriel Batista de Souza, no.2 Diego Ramalo, and third seed Adam Wardzinski, will all grace the mats at Mubadala Arena.
The women’s World Pro will also welcome the world’s top three in the form of world no.1 Gabrielle Besanha, no.2 Mesa Bastos and no.3 Samantha Cook, with a plethora of other stars joining them on the mat.
The Federation announced that the semi-finals and finals of the World Pro event brown and black belt categories will take place on three mats in the arena with three referees per mat. The bolstered number of officials aims to eliminate mistakes in scoring and ensure fair matches.
Youth embrace jiu-jitsu
The Federation revealed entries for the boys’ category of Abu Dhabi World Youth Championship has exceeded target by 28 percent, with the girls’ category yielding 30 percent more entries than expected. The Championship’s seven-day programme of events is now set to showcase world-class action and provide a platform for the next generation of heroes to leave their mark.
Away from the mats, 100 volunteers will play their part in helping to build on the championship’s legacy. The volunteers drew praise from Al Hashemi: “The huge increase in the number of volunteers who want to help the championship is proof that our mission to raise awareness of the sport is on track and that we are bringing new audiences to the sport, who share the values of jiu-jitsu,” said the UAEJJF Chairman.
“Their commitment aligns with our goal to spread a global message that Abu Dhabi has the infrastructure, expertise and determination to host major events to the highest international standards. We thank the vision of our leaders and the unity, loyalty and respect of our country’s youth, which all align with the key values of jiu-jitsu,” he added.
Key stakeholders and sponsors committed
H.E Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “The support of HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in sports in general, and jiu-jitsu in particular, has had a great impact on the popularity of the sport in the UAE. HH Sheikh Nayhan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, is also keen to provide support in all sports”
Mr. Yaqoob Al Saadi, Director of Abu Dhabi Sport Channels, said: “As a proud partner, Abu Dhabi Sports Channels is committed to providing full coverage of the ADWPJJC 2019. Ahead of the championship, Abu Dhabi Sports Channels will screen a series of documentaries and special programmes showing highlights of this season so far and the role of HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in growing the sport in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
“The series will also highlight Abu Dhabi’s role in building the sport regionally and globally. Our live coverage of the championship will feature all events and competitions throughout the seven days.”
Palms Sports, the leading UAE provider for sports training programmes and strategic partner of the ADWPJJC 2019, stressed the upcoming championship will further elevate the sport and Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a world-class sporting destination.
“Palms Sports is privileged be given the responsibility availed by the distinguished UAEJJF to assist in raising awareness of the globally renowned Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Building on the success of the past 10 years, this year’s championship holds particular importance amongst the myriad sporting celebrations hosted in Abu Dhabi,” Mr. Fouad Fahmi Darwish, General Manager of Palms Sports, said.
“Today, jiu-jitsu is synonymous with sporting development in the UAE and has become a platform for Emirati athletic success. Not only does this contribute towards building a stronger, more physically capable generation but also solidifies core values and culturally-revered traditions amongst our leaders of tomorrow.
“Palms Sports is honoured to play a minor role in this transformative, nationwide movement and we believe the World Pro will undoubtedly contribute towards emphasising the importance of sports, competitiveness and patriotism alike.”
Ahmad Thani Al Matrooshi, Managing Director, Emaar Properties, Lifestyle Developer of the ADWPJJC 2019, said it was an honour to play a part in inspiring the next generation of jiu-jitsu heroes.
“I thank the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation for the opportunity to sponsor this tournament, which is fully aligned with our commitment to supporting national sports and social initiatives,” said Al Matrooshi. “This championship also plays an important role in encouraging young Emirati men and women to pursue healthy lifestyles and helps to nurture a new generation of talented individuals not just in the UAE, but also in the international arena.
“The championship is a tribute to the national vision aimed at promoting excellence in various sports fields in the UAE and inspires a new generation of UAE Jiu-Jitsu champions to showcase their potential.”
Saeed Hijazi Salameh, Assistant General Manager - Sales, Jaguar Land Rover for Premier Motors, Official Automotive Partner of ADWPJCC 2019, added: “The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (ADWPJJC) ranks among the sport’s top global events and attracts participation from prominent international jiu-jitsu professionals. As one of Abu Dhabi’s leading automotive dealerships, Premier Motors along with Jaguar Land Rover, is pleased to support and play a key role in the success of this championship.
“This sport, which encourages self-discipline and tolerance among other attributes, is especially relevant in the Year of Tolerance declared by the UAE. We wish participants all the very best for the final championship in what has been an extremely successful season.”
The objectives of the championship align with the goals of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), which is Diamond Partner for the ADWPJJC 2019, in encouraging UAE residents and citizens to get active. Adel Al Zarouni, Chairman of the CSR Council at ADIB, said: “Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank has always been a strong supporter of this world-class sport and we are honoured to be sponsoring the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship.
“We stand by our commitment to encourage and support such sports that help strengthen bonds across the local community and raise the UAE's profile internationally. Through this sport, participants have the chance to improve their skill set and, therefore, we encourage all generations to actively take part in any form of sport that would not only instill in them a sense of achievement, but also equip them with great physical and mental attributes.”
Global stage a huge draw for UAE heroes
“The championship presents a great platform for athletes across all categories, including our own players from the UAE, to demonstrate their skills and develop their techniques. UAE national players have shown great appetite and enthusiasm for this championship to realise their dream of competing on a global platform,” said UAEJJF CEO Mr. Fahad Ali Al Shamsi.
“We are honoured this year to welcome athletes from a number of emerging countries in jiu-jitsu, which reflects the growth of the sport and the Federation’s mission to engage as wide an audience as possible,” he added.
Al Shamsi added the championship will align with the highest global safety standards and will be the best organised in the event’s history, revealing that the organising committee is committed to service excellence for all involved in the championship, from participants and referees, to volunteers and spectators, with first-class facilities including rest areas and food and beverage outlets.
Al Shamsi concluded the press conference by thanking sponsors for their “steadfast support and commitment to helping make the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship a world-class sporting event.”
Global media coverage
The UAEJJF confirmed that the ADWPJJC 2019 will be screened live on the Abu Dhabi Sports Network and on more than 32 channels around the world, including Dubai Sports, Sharjah Sports, Airtel, Fox Sports, Eleven Sport and other channels, reaching more than 12 million viewers in more than 100 countries.
For more info-rmation on the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2019, visit www.uaejjf.com