The 13th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (ADWPJJC) got off to an energetic start on Sunday — and the sport’s future is in safe hands if the opening day of the six-day showcase is anything to go by.
Athletes between the ages of four and 17 — from the UAE and across the world — took to the mats in a series of matches across Infant, Juniors, Teens and Juveniles categories cheered on by fans inside a packed Jiu-Jitsu Arena.
Running until November 19, under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the 13th ADWPJJC has brought together 4,000 athletes to compete for global honours.
While the elite athletes compete later in the week, day one of the six-day championship belonged to the youngsters. With family, friends, and the entire jiu-jitsu community watching, they delivered a great day of action.
The future generation of global jiu-jitsu stars, from the UAE to South Africa, Kazakhstan to Brazil, showed great determination, dedication, patience and respect — key values of the sport. The Best Academy Boys title went to the Kazakhstan team, ahead of Al Ain and Sharjah.
In the girls’ championship, the Best Academy crown was won by Palm Sports 777, with Al Ain second and Al Jazira third.
“Day one of the ADWPJJC is always a special occasion as we get to see the future champions of our sports right here on the mats at the Jiu Jitsu Arena, the global home of jiu-jitsu. However, today exceeded all our expectations,” said Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice President, UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation. “The level of participation, from within the UAE and across the world, shows great dedication of the athletes and their families, and underlines the work we are doing as a Federation to raise awareness of this sport that teaches us so much. There were some truly exceptional performances, but the real success was the level of respect and support the athletes had for one another. Thanks to the ongoing support of our country’s wise leadership and the dedication of the parents and coaches, who devote time and effort in helping to shape our young athletes, today has shown us the sport is on the right track.”
One of those athletes who made a long trip to Abu Dhabi just for the opportunity to compete was Alanis Dos Santos, who came all the way from Brazil. The 14-year-old’s efforts paid off as she took gold in the Teen Girls -57kg orange belt final.
“Today is something really big for me, really special,” she said. “It’s a privilege just to come here and compete, so to win a gold makes it even better. Abu Dhabi gives so much importance to jiu-jitsu and it’s made me want to come and compete here this year. I have flown in specifically for this competition and I am happy I was able to win. In future I want to come back and win here again.”
Dzhamal Ruzakhunov, 14, also made a successful trip with Kazakhstan delegation for the back-to-back mega events — last week’s Jiu-Jitsu World Championship (JJWC) and ADWPJJC.
“This is very important for me. I won bronze at the JJWC so to win gold this week is very special,” he said. “Our country is looking to us to be successful, so this is a great feeling. I came to Abu Dhabi just for these tournaments,”