Fuhairah
A view of last year's Taekwondo Grand Prix held at the recently built sports complex in Fujairah. Taekwondo is now a popular sport amongst youth especially Emiratis in the UAE. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Fujairah has become the epicentre of Korean martial arts Taekwondo as the emirate is set to hold its first upgraded G-2 championship.

“The 8th Fujairah Open Taekwondo Championship to be held in the emirate from January 31 to February 2 has been awarded the G-2 ranking which makes the event even more attractive for international Taekwondo players,” said Nader Abu Shawish, Director of the Fujairah Open.

Nader Abu Shawish

Speaking to Gulf New Shawish said it is huge achievement by the UAE Taekwondo Federation and Fujairah as the event has become even more prestigious for the Taekwondo community around the world.

Fujairah Crown Prince support

He thanked Shaikh Mohammad Bin Hamad Bin Mohammad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, for his continuous support to help promote Taekwondo in the UAE. He said Fujairah has emerged as epicentre of this Olympic martial arts sport in the region. “Since the first Fujairah Open was held in 2013, Taekwondo in the UAE has been growing rapidly and now we have more than 1600 registered players across the country — mainly in Fujairah and Sharjah,” he added.

He also thanked the World Taekwondo (WT) for improving the ranking of Fujairah Open from G-1 to G-2 competition. G-2 ranking means that the event will be highly competitive to attract more senior international players who can get more ranking points leading up to Olympics and the World Cup.

Fujairah
More than 1100 players from around the world participated in the 7th Fujairah Open Taekwondo Championship in 2019. Image Credit:

Shawish who is also Technical Director of Fujairah Martial Arts Club, said that he expects participation of more than 1200 athletes in the upcoming championship.

Fujairah will also hold Arab Taekwondo Championship for the first time in the region from January 27 to 28 in addition to international course from January 26 to 27 for Taekwondo coaches to horn their skills.

Fujairah hosts major Taekwondo events

Last year, Fujairah was lauded by the World Taekwondo body and the international Taekwondo community for successfully hosting Taekwondo Grand Prix in the emirates. “We are preparing to hold more international events in the coming years,” he added.

Successful journey

Shawaish has been instrumental in promoting UAE Taekwondo on international forums. “We had only around 280 players when held the first Fujairah Open but more than 1100 players participated in the 7th Fujairah Open last year,” he said, adding that the last three years have been phenomenal since the new UAE Taekwondo Federation was formed as the UAE players have been winning medals in international events. “We also won three gold medals in the Women Gulf Championship in October last year in addition to many others,” he said.

Taekwondo is now a popular sport in the UAE

He said the more Taekwondo clubs are opening across the UAE and the game is also spreading in the schools. “We also have recently launched talent hunt programme in the government schools in coordination with the Ministry of Education and it is working very well,” he noted.

Fujairah taekwondo
More children in the UAE are involved in Taekwondo Image Credit:

National Taekwondo Team

The UAE has also formed its first National Taekwondo Team late last year after hiring an international coach Tamir Salah from Egypt. “Salah is an Olympian and had won bronze medal at the Athens Olympics. He has been given the task to develop the UAE’s team to compete at international events.

Shawish said that they are preparing a new generation of Taekwondo players including cadets and juniors and they would start competing at the international level soon.