Increased competition rounds will allow jiu-jitsu competitors to sharpen their match fitness
Increased competition rounds will allow jiu-jitsu competitors to sharpen their match fitness Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s (UAEJJF) revamped 2021 domestic season which includes a new championship and increased competition rounds for two prestigious tournaments has been met with an emphatic stamp of approval from UAE jiu-jitsu national team head coach Ramon Lemos.

The UAE national team is scheduled to participate in the sixth Asian Beach Games in Sanya, China, from April 2-10 and will then head to Thailand to compete in the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games from May 21-30.

The Falcons have had an unusually long break between competitions having last been in action on the international mat in November 2019. However, Lemos is confident that the series of camps and tournaments organised by the UAEJJF, in a year where sporting activity has come to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic will serve the national team’s fighters well and keep them on well prepared.

“We have two big tournaments coming up in April and May. Both competitions are very important, and our goal is to challenge for medals in every category that we compete in,” he said. “While the national team has not participated in an international competition for quite some time, all our fighters are in good touch, thanks to the many training camps and domestic competitions organised through the year that has ensured that momentum has been maintained and our athletes have been in touch with the sport. The 2021 domestic season, one that is long and intense, will play a crucial role in our preparations and help fighters adjust to the demands of competitive jiu-jitsu.”

UAE jiu-jitsu ciach Ramon Lemos
UAE jiu-jitsu ciach Ramon Lemos Image Credit: Supplied

The UAEJJF’s 2021 domestic season will see the creation of individual rankings for fighters spread across three age groups — under-16, under-18 and adults, an increase in the number of rounds for the Vice President’s Jiu-Jitsu League and the Mother of the Nation Jiu-Jitsu League from three to five.

The prestigious President’s Cup will see the inclusion of female fighters and will be contested in its usual format over three rounds. Fighters will still represent their club sides in these two tournaments, but their showings on the mat will see them earn points on the individual and team ranking table.

The Federation has also announced the institution of a new championship — the UAE National Jiu-Jitsu Championship — which will be the final tournament of the season and offer double the ranking points.

Lemos noted that the biggest advantages of a long and busy season are that the national team’s technical staff will get the chance to see fighters compete in a variety of situations and will allow athletes to pick up valuable match practice under their belt before their international commitments.

“International tournaments are very intense and require a fighter to have had enough mat time in competitive settings. With the way the new season is scheduled, our fighters will have competed in several bouts before they start preparing for the Asian Beach Games and will have built a strong base. Our job is to then iron out any technical difficulties and ensure that the fighters are mentally ready to take on the pressure of an international tournament,” he said.

The UAEJJF pioneered the return of live sport in the Middle East and Lemos said that the proactive approach by the federation to organise closed training camps and internal competitions have given his charges a distinct advantage. “Jiu-Jitsu is a sport that has to be practised day in and day out. Even if you miss out on a couple of weeks of training, you are already in catch-up mode. So, in that sense, the UAEJJF’s desire to keep our fighters sharp through camps and internal tournaments was really admirable,” Lemos said.

“We did not compromise on our preparations, we have been preparing with a clear focus on these two big international tournaments for quite some time now and I am confident it will all pay off on the mat.”