x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Champions back in the fold at Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championships

More than 700 fighters along with the UAE national team are expected at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championships in April as the total prize money is up to Dh1.45 million, writes Osman Samuiddin.

This year's World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Abu Dhabi is expecting to attract more than 700 fighters in April. Delores Johnson / The National
This year's World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Abu Dhabi is expecting to attract more than 700 fighters in April. Delores Johnson / The National

ABU DHABI // The Abu Dhabi World Professional Championships is expecting to attract over 700 fighters, including a stellar cast of the sport's very best fighters, from more than 50 countries for the international calendar's showpiece event, scheduled from April 10 to 13.

The UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) launched the fifth edition of the tournament at federation headquarters in the capital on Tuesday.

"This year marks our fifth anniversary and to celebrate the occasion we are bringing the most exciting line-up in the history of this world-class championship.

"Each and every year the event has grown alongside the love of Jiu-Jitsu within the local community of Abu Dhabi and across the UAE," said Abdulmunam Al Hashemi, the federation chairman.

Total prize money for the event, at US$393,000 (Dh1.45 million), is also bigger than ever before, with the winner in the top black belt category expected to pick up $30,000.

The legendary Brazilian black belt fighter Rodolfo Vieira Srour, who is the reigning heavyweight world champion is the headline attraction on the men's side, while countrywoman Gabrielle Garcia – a seven-time world champion – heads the women's side.

As ever, there will be a strong local presence, with the 10-man UAE national team all participating. Last year, local fighters picked up five gold medals at the championships, a fair haul given the quality of international talent they faced.

Faisal Al Ketbi, Ahmed Mousa, Abdullah Al Ketbi and Shamsa Hasan, who all won gold last year in various categories, will be hoping to repeat their successes.

Maiky Reiter, the national team coach, believes it will not be easy but is happy that new talent is also emerging. One eye, he said, should be kept on the progress of Khalid Al Tamimi, the 16-year-old prodigy who won a European title in January.

osamuiddin@thenational.ae

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