The event was a colourful affair, with male and female athletes from various clubs and academies in the UAE showcasing their skills and talents. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Jiu-Jitsu President’s Cup 2023 began on a high note at the Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City on Friday with preliminary round competitions in the Under 14 and Under 16 divisions. The event was a colourful affair, with male and female athletes from various clubs and academies in the UAE showcasing their skills and talents.

The day was filled with thrilling action as Al Ain and Sharjah Self-Defense Sports Club secured their place in the finals for Under 14 boys, while Baniyas and Sharjah Self-Defense made it to the finals in the girls’ division. In the Under 16 category, Al Ain and Al Wahda clubs secured their spots in the boys’ final, while Baniyas and Al Jazira qualified for the girls’ final.

National team

Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Deputy Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, praised the performance of the players, their technical skill, and their level of competence, stating “The brilliance of the boys and girls on the mats reflects the efforts of clubs and academies in developing programmes that improve their readiness and abilities, qualify them for competition and prepare them optimally to join the national team.”

He added, “The championship is developing year after year, and presents us with a group of new talents capable of preserving the gains of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu during the past years. There is no doubt that adding the Under 14 category to the tournament added more excitement to the competitions, especially that they represent the future and the next generation of champions.”

Obaid Al Kaabi, a member of the Board of Directors of Baniyas Sports Company, expressed his excitement at Baniyas Club’s past achievements, stating “Baniyas Club was able to engrave its name in gold in the records of this precious tournament, and has been the title holder for four consecutive years in the adult category. The team has achieved other notable accomplishments in the women’s category of different age groups.” He added that their preparations for the tournament began several weeks ago, with the goal of achieving a unique accomplishment and preserving the title in all categories.

Abdul Aziz Al Hammadi, Director of the Sports Training Department at the Sharjah Self-Defense Sports Club, praised the distinguished organisation of the tournament and stressed on the club’s message of enhancing awareness about the sport among widest scale in society. He noted that the Sharjah Club began its preparations to participate in the competitions two months ago through a number of internal and external camps and tournaments.

Source of pride

Obaid Saeed Alketbi, a participant from Al Ain Jiu-Jitsu Club in the U16, -55kg division, said: “Participating in the Jiu-Jitsu President’s Cup is a source of pride for all players, as it bears the most dear name to our hearts and motivates us to do everything we can to make our way to the final rounds. Our team today is determined to maintain the title the juniors achieved last year, and the beginning is very promising, as we succeeded in resolving the first group of fights that were not without difficulty, and we will continue with team spirit until the coronation.”

Alyazia Alhammadi, a participant from Al Wahda Club Jiu-Jitsu Academy in the U16, -45kg division, expressed her gratitude towards the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation for the professional organisation of the tournament, saying: “We started our preparations at Al-Wahda Club a full month ago to appear in an honorable manner befitting the name of the club that used to climb the podiums. We were able to win the first fights, and we fought a large number of difficult confrontations, and our most important weapons are focus and teamwork towards one goal, which is achieving the title.”