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Abu Dhabi: After taking giant strides in the sport of jiu-jitsu within a decade, the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) has mapped out a concrete plan to boost the development of the sport in the UAE.

The 11th edition of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship starting from April 20 will mark the beginning of a new era, said UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation CEO Fahad Al Shamsi.

“We have done our best in the last 10 years and made sure that the sport is not only popular here in UAE but around the globe as well,” said Al Shamsi on the sidelines of a media briefing ahead of the World Pro.

“It is now time for us to focus more on quality and not quantity. There is a lot of interest and a lot of numbers as well, however, we want to set a benchmark of high standards. Hence, only the best will get the chance to compete at the World Pro from this year on.”

Al Shamsi hailed the work done by UAE in making sure that the sport was reaching out to more people in the region.

“The Asian Games in Jakarta was a huge success for the sport,” he said. “In all, 42 teams competed in the event and we gave good account of ourselves to the world in the sport. The Asian Federation also have taken firm note of it.”

Al Shamsi added that the next step is to make sure that the sport makes its debut at the Games soon.

“The 2022 Asian Games will also be another important event for us. We are trying in a lot many ways with International Olympic Committee,” he said. “We are very optimistic that we are in the right way and sooner or later the sport will make it to the Olympics. We don’t want to put all the responsibility on our back only but we very optimistic about the sport making it to the Games.”

Al Shamsi’s views were also echoed by Abdul Munem Al Mohammad Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAEJFF.

“This is going to be the world’s largest jiu-jitsu event and we have been working hard to finalise the tournament in line with the vision of Abu Dhabi as the global home of jiu-jitsu,” he said. “This tournament represents a real example of the importance of teamwork and cooperation between sports federations and public and private sector institutions. We thank all our partners for the success of this edition, which represents a tournament for the UAE and the world — not just for Abu Dhabi.”

Fouad Fahmi Darwish, General Manager of Palms Sports, the leading UAE provider for sports training programmes and strategic partner of the ADWPJJC 2019, stressed the upcoming championship will further elevate Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a world-class sporting destination.

“Palms Sports is privileged to be given the responsibility availed by the distinguished UAEJJF to promote the sport. We are sponsoring around 45 fighters. We run training facilities across UAE. Around 356 facilities are operational here and every year we accomplish 360 competitions across the UAE,” he said.

“We have outdone our expectations in the first 10 years and our next aim is to elevate our technical abilities and the status of UAE at the World level. We want to conquer every possible podium in any weight category and in any tournament held around the globe.”