Increased prize fund, new competitions and 'lots of surprises' on the agenda for the milestone tournament
Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship promises 'never a dull moment' during special 10th edition
Over 9,000 fighters, including more than 2,500 from overseas, will join the 10-year celebrations of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the Mubadala Arena from April 16 to 28.
The prize fund has been increased to Dh4 million and a new “King of the Mat” competition for past winners of the World Pro has been introduced to mark the milestone.
“It’s an occasion we will celebrate with a lot of surprises for the competitors as well as for the fans,” Abdulmunam Al Hashmi, president of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) and Jiu-Jitsu Asian Union (JJAU) said at the launch ceremony at Jumeirah Etihad Towers on Tuesday.
“We have come a long way from the humble beginning to where we stand now as the world championship. We thought we must honour the past winners and came out with this unique event.
“Most of the past winners of the World Pro are still competing or in training, but one thing is sure, they are all going to relive their moments of glory in Abu Dhabi once again.”
Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, chief executive officer of UAEJJF, described the 13-day event as a jiu-jitsu festival for everyone including the competitors, fans and families to celebrate.
“To have more than 9,000 athletes for a championship run for nearly two weeks itself is an achievement,” he said. “The whole idea is to gather the jiu-jitsu fighters from every level to come on a common platform.
“In the UAE, we have more than 100,000 practicing the martial art sport and out of that nearly 60,000 are school kids. So it’s our duty as the administrators of sport, to provide them the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage in the world.
“We have competitions for the young as old as four years, para jiu-jitsu fighters and the world’s best. This is a very exciting two weeks for jiu-jitsu.
“We can assure everyone that there won’t be a dull moment throughout the 13-day period. We have plenty of side events for all and plenty of valuable prizes to win from the daily raffle draws on the free entry tickets.”
With the Asian Games in Jakarta from August 18 to September 2, in which jiu-jitsu will be making its debut, some nations are using the World Pro as a springboard.
“Several Asian countries are sending their national teams to have a go and gain experience,” said Al Shamsi, who is also the general secretary of the JJAU.
“A delegation from Indonesia will arrive on a learning mission. Their national team will participate in the competition and use this period as a training camp.”
The Asian Games in Jakarta has drawn a record 36 countries for the jiu-jitsu competition. Al Shamsi said he was overwhelmed to have 36 countries confirmed for jiu-jitsu - the highest of any individual sport at the Games.
“This is great. We are very excited that our work and efforts are successful,” he said. “The World Pro and the Asian Games are at two different levels but a lot of fighters from Asia are travelling to Abu Dhabi to have a go against some of the world’s best and gain experience.
“It’s the same drills for our fighters. For us, the World Pro is not the only competition but we will still have three months to prepare for the Asian Games.
“Our technical staff will prepare a programme for the national team but the World Pro definitely have a big impact on our fighters, particularly those fighting for a place in the squad.
“They are also very fortunate we host the World Pro, which is arguably the biggest jiu-jitsu championship in the world in terms of quality, numbers and prize money.”
“For our fighters, the World Pro is a massive test. We will still have more than three months before the Asian Games but the Abu Dhabi event will provide them the real test on where they stand.”