Jiu-jitsu is making a return to action in Abu Dhabi
Jiu-jitsu is making a return to action in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE’s leading jiu-jitsu athletes will return to competitive action this weekend in a behind-closed-doors ‘refresher’ tournament as they continue preparation for a scheduled return to international competition later this year.

The tournament, organised by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF), the governing body for the sport in the country in line with the Federal and global COVID-19 health and safety protocols, is part of the ongoing UAE National Jiu-Jitsu team training camp, that is scheduled to run until May 24.

Featuring 60 of the nation’s top players, the ‘Refresher Jiu-Jitsu Tournament’ at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi, signals a return to live sporting action in the UAE.

Athletes, coaches, and support staff were given medical examinations before the camp commenced earlier this month, and are continually monitored. The event will be held without fans in attendance in line with public health guidelines.

Strict health and safety protocols will be in place this weekend
Strict health and safety protocols will be in place this weekend Image Credit: Supplied

While the virus has resulted in an uncertain short-term future for live sport worldwide, the UAEJFF is constantly working on plans for healthy, safe, and medically approved means to continue the development of the UAE national Jiu-Jitsu team.

“We are committed to our mission of developing the sport of jiu-jitsu in the UAE and ensuring the national team is on track for them to bring glory to the nation. The closed training camp along with the Refresher Jiu-Jitsu Tournament, is the first-of-its-kind sporting initiative in the region,” Fahad Al Shamsi, General Secretary, UAEJJF, related.

“The enthusiasm of the athletes and the desire to ensure they are in the best shape for global tournaments is the main reason behind organising this tournament.”

The Refresher Jiu-Jitsu Tournament will take place from 10pm to 12.30am on Saturday with participating athletes divided into three pools.

“While training camps are excellent for improving a fighter’s technical level and physical conditioning, a match environment often tells you whether fighters have really absorbed the learnings. Most of our training camps end with the players competing at a championship and by organising this tournament, we wanted to ensure that the players do not break this habit. The tournament will allow the UAE national Jiu-Jitsu team fighters to be mentally ready for a gruelling international and domestic competition schedule ahead and will also provide the coaching team crucial information on the fighters’ developmental journey,” Mubarak Al Menhali, Technical Director, UAEJJF, said.