Faisal Al Ketbi (pictured) will lead a team of fighters against Mohammad Al Qubaisi's boys in a Champions Challenge in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Image Credit: Gulf News archive

Dubai: Teams led by Faisal Al Ketbi and Mohammad Al Qubaisi will face off in a tournament from 10 pm on May 20 as the UAE National Jiu-Jitsu team continues behind-closed-doors training.

Following a successful return to competitive action with the Refresher Jiu-Jitsu Tournament, the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF), the governing body for the sport in the Emirates, has organised another unique tournament for its athletes.

The Jiu-Jitsu Champions Challenge will see 50 of the country’s top athletes in action at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. The athletes will make up two teams, spearheaded by 2019 world champion Al Ketbi and 2018 Asian Games medallist Al Qubaisi, respectively.

The two teams will go head-to-head in what is expected to be an exhibition of high-class jiu-jitsu. This tournament has been organised in line with Federal and global COVID-19 health and safety protocols and involves athletes who have been part of the UAE National Jiu-Jitsu team’s closed training camp and have undergone stringent medical examinations.

Abdul Munam Al Hashemi, President, UAEJJF and the Ju-Jitsu Asian Union, Vice President of the International Ju-Jitsu Federation, said: “Athletes are our true wealth and we have ensured that all health and safety protocols have been strictly adhered to during the closed training camp and the tournaments. The Jiu-Jitsu Champions Challenge is another step towards providing our athletes with high-quality training opportunities and to ensure that they are ready to perform at the highest level consistently.”

Ramon Lemos, head coach of the UAE National jiu-jitsu team, said that the competition would once again provide valuable match practice to participating fighters and further develop techniques they have been working on in the camp since the the beginning of May.

“We have had a good training camp over the last three weeks. All the athletes have really worked hard on bettering their techniques and topping up their physical strength after the unusual break,” Lemos said.

Team leader Al Ketbi said that the tournament would offer the right encouragement to players and get them into a competitive mindset before the commencement of the regular season. “We are sure to have a packed schedule in the latter half of this year and these tournaments are useful for fighters to pick up vital tips, get a measure of their fitness, and identify technical issues that need to be resolved,” Al Ketbi noted.