UAE’s top jiu-jitsu fighters star in Abu Dhabi Grand Slam
The UAE’s top jiu-jitsu fighters warmed up in style for the upcoming Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (ADWPJJC) by capturing 28 medals at the weekend’s AJP Tour’s Abu Dhabi Grand Slam at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena.
Zayed Al Katheeri (56 kg), Omar Al Fadhli (62 kg), and Mohamed Al Amri (77 kg) gave a strident indication of their potential to hold their own against the best in the world with the trio bagging gold medals in their respective weight classes in the purple belt division.
In the women’s brackets, Wadima Al Yafei (49 kg) and Mariam Al Ameri (95 kg) clinched silver medals while Shouq Al Dhanhani (49 kg), Ashwaq Al Khoori (55 kg), and Bashyer Al Matrooshi (62 kg) all took home bronze medals from the purple belt division. Adding to the UAE’s gold medal count were Haitham Hanawi (62 kg) in the masters 1 category, Abdulla Al Marzooqi (77 kg), Rashed Al Naqbi (94 kg), and Khalifa Andeez (120 kg) in the masters 2 class.
The UAE’s medal haul ensured that it racked up 92400 points and clinched second place on the national ranking list behind Brazil whose dominance in the sport saw them aggregate 308400 points and open up a comfortable lead. On the club rankings, Palms Sports Team 777 (107100 points) took first place ahead of Al Wahda (84600) and Commando Group (52200).
Fadhli has recently been on a hot streak in AJP Tour events having won the gold medal in the Moscow event as well. He said that with the tournament’s timing and the level of competition it offered, he could not have asked for a better end to his preparation.
“My category had some really strong fighters and also opponents that I had not faced before. Taking on fighters whose fighting styles were completely unknown was the perfect way to prepare myself before entering the ADWPJJC where I will be facing similar challenges. I am glad that this tournament was scheduled in the lead-up to an important competition as I believe that we will take a lot of positive momentum into the ADWPJJC,” he said.
Mohamed Al Amri beat off a strong challenge from Brazil’s Cadmiel Farias to emerge as the winner in the 77 kg category. The Al Wahda fighter said that the chance to compete against a strong field of South American athletes was exactly what he was looking for.
“When I started the day, my goal was to just concentrate on staying on the mat as long as possible, take all the bouts I had the full distance and just condition my body and mind to stay in the game as long as possible. Eventually things worked out really well, I built up a nice rhythm and the gold medal has really boosted my confidence. I am now looking to do similarly well at the ADWPJJC,” he said.
The successful organisation of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam has further emphasised the UAE capital’s credentials of hosting top-class sporting events and Fahad Al Shamsi, General Secretary, UAEJJF, the organisers of the ADWPJJC, said that the tremendous response received for the Grand Slam as well as the UAEJJF clearly reflects the international jiu-jitsu family’s confidence in the UAE and its world-leading health and wellness protocols.
“The UAEJJF has worked very closely with several local and federal government entities to ensure that the 12th edition of the ADWPJJC is organised seamlessly and with the highest priority accorded to the health and wellness of all participants and organising staff. We have received a very enthusiastic response from the global jiu-jitsu community and we will be welcoming over 2000 athletes from 80 countries to this illustrious tournament,” he said.
“Registrations for the ADWPJJC have far outstripped our projections and this is a wonderful sign of confidence from the jiu-jitsu community that the road to recovery starts in Abu Dhabi. We are now looking forward to welcoming all participating athletes and coaches to our wonderful city and glorious country for the grandest celebration of our sport,” he added.