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The registration process has experienced a surge in demand in the last week and the number of nationalities taking part in the various categories has reached 64. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The AJP Tour UAE National Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2023 is all set to get under way on Friday, at the Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi, with the participation of hundreds of athletes from clubs and academies across the world. The registration process has experienced a surge in demand in the last week and the number of nationalities taking part in the various categories has reached 64, with the UAE, Colombia, and Brazil leading the way.

Organised by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Pro (AJP), the three-day championship will feature thrilling competitions in the kids, infant, and junior categories on the first day. On the second day, the youth, teen, and masters divisions will take centre stage, while the third and final day will witness fierce matches between amateurs and professionals.

Crucial role

Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, the Secretary-General of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, said, “The AJP Tour UAE National Championship plays a crucial role in improving the preparedness of the athletes for various international competitions in the upcoming months, particularly the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship scheduled for early November.

“As the championship offers 1,000 points in the AJP ranking for first-place winners, athletes from various countries are enthusiastic about participating to enhance their point standings and improve their annual ranking. Those with the highest rankings from each country will have the opportunity to be invited to compete at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, gaining an advantage in the bracket and a chance to win the Best Player Award in their respective category or continent at the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Awards,” he added.

Sharjah fully prepared

Taha Abdel Sattar, Secretary of Jiu-Jitsu at the Sharjah Self-Defence Sports Club, said the team is all set to compete in the competition. “We have over 200 male and female fighters participating in the AJP Tour UAE National Jiu-Jitsu Championship, the majority of whom are under 18 years old. Our objective, as always, is to achieve significant progress and secure a number of medals in various categories.

“Our athletes in the under 18 categories currently dominate the overall club standings in AJP ranking. This tournament presents a unique opportunity to bolster our athletes’ point standings and solidify our lead,” he added.

New generation of athletes

Pedro Damasceno, Technical Project Manager at Palms Sports and Head Coach of Team 777, said he is optimistic about his team shining at the Championship. “We have as many as 73 athletes, boys, and girls, taking to the mats next week. This time, we are focusing more on the younger fighters, with most of our participants in the kids, junior, and infant categories. I am sure they will do their best.

“Our athletes are improving with each event, and they are determined to give their best on the mat. This is evident from their willingness to participate in the event despite it being during school vacation time. Last time, they achieved second place in the Challenge Jiu-Jitsu Festival held in Abu Dhabi, and this time the team is aiming to replicate their medal-winning performance.”

Medya Almeraikhi, a proud mother of Mubarak Almeraikhi and Ahmed Almeraikhi, who are participating in the championship, said her children are preparing very well for the competitions.

“Both Ahmed and Mubarak train jiu-jitsu three days a week and they are very confident about winning medals. They have participated in multiple jiu-jitsu events organised by the Federation in the past and have won multiple medals too. I hope they will repeat their medal-winning performances this time as well.”

“The reason why we chose jiu-jitsu for our kids is that it makes them mentally and physically strong. I am glad that our athletes are doing well on world forums and making the UAE proud. I hope my sons will also make it to the national team one day and win medals for the nation.”