Mary Jones
Mary Jones (above) in action against Fatemeh Doustdary during the semi-finals of the 70kg white belt category. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: United States’ Mary Jones is on a roll at the 11th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship that got under way at the Mubadala Arena on Saturday.

The 26-year-old, who works with an NGO on information management for humanitarian programme in Jordan, has been hogging limelight for the second year in a row at the World Pro.

On her debut last season, she won gold in the 62kg white belt and here she was again winning gold in the 70kg.

Jones went on to tame UAE’s Marwa Al Hosani 7-0 on points to get her hands on the gold. The American was all over the Emirati after passing the guard to take a 3-0 lead and then grabbed another four points of a mount.

In the semis, Jones had defeated Iran’s Fatemeh Doustdary 2-0 on points.

“Last year, I took part in the 62kg and won. That triumph was just six months after taking up the sport and from then on I have not stopped. I simply love the sport so much,” said a jubilant Jones, adding that she is ready to go that extra mile to balance between work and her sport.

“I work till six in the evening and then go for training straight from office. Then I finish only at 9pm and that had been my routine for a year and half now. However, I love doing that,” revealed Jones, who was introduced to the sport by one of her office colleagues.

“I moved to Jordan four years back and I was a lot into sport back home in the US. I played football and swam, so once I came to Jordan I wanted to do something and jiu-jitsu gave that new challenge,” said Jones, who also won gold at the Austria National Championship in March and had beaten Cordula Koehlar of the host team with an identical 7-0 score.

“These couple of years have been exciting to say the least. It’s been about jiu-jitsu and I have also taken part in national competitions in Jordan as well,” revealed Jones, whose parents back home are also delighted with what their daughter has achieved staying away from the family.

“My father is very much excited about the sport now. I keep sending him the videos of my bouts and he simply enjoys it. He will be delighted with my effort today,” said Jones, who will be now graduating into the blue belt following this triumph.

Ukraine’s Tetiana Kolieva also was on cloud nine following her gold medal winning effort against Kyrgyzstan’s Malika Bootaeva, whom she thrashed 8-0 on points in the white adult 62kg.

“Did I win gold?,” she asked a volunteer in excitement. “I just can’t believe it. It is the first time I’m out of my country ever and to get this result is ‘Oh my God’. My English is not good but hope you understand how I’m feeling,” said a beaming Kolieva, who now aims to take part in more tournaments following this success.

The opening day also featured competitions for the para jiu-judokas and amongst them was UAE’s Hamad Al Blooshi, who had been competing in the weight category for over a decade. A separate tournament for the ably challenged has allowed him to compete with people with his same abilities.

“It is good for people with disabilities and that’s a good thing. Earlier, it was just me competing but now more than 100 determined athletes like me have come forward and taking part in the event.

“The sport was not there in Special Olympics but I hope one day it will be a part of the Special Olympics as well,” said Al Blooshi, who is looking to fight in the normal weight.

“I will compete in the normal weight as well. I have done that last year and this year also I will do that. I like challenging everyone as I have done that for years now. I’m purple belt now and this year I want to get my brown belt. That is my goal,” asserted Al Blooshi.