The Jiu-Jitsu World Championship opened at Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City on Saturday and will run till November 24, bringing together the best Jiu-Jitsu athletes from all over the world on one elite platform
Day one of the Championship had under-18 and under-21 women athletes taking the mat in the showpiece competition held under the patronage of Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, who was present at the opening ceremony and encouraged the athletes.
The Championship is organised by the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation and hosted by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation.
The UAE National Team will have 76 athletes across the men’s and women’s categories competing in different belts and weight classes along with more than 1500 athletes from 69 countries.
With the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship coming to UAE’s capital, excitement ran high. A large crowd of Jiu-Jitsu enthusiasts, family and friends of participating athletes, and fans made a beeline for the Mubadala Arena carrying flags, banners, and filling the arena with vociferous cheers.
Mohammed Al Shehhi, father of Khaled Al Shehhi who is representing the UAE in the 60 kg division in the under-18 category, was ecstatic about watching his son compete and potentially make the Nation proud. “Myself and my entire family have a deep love for the sport of Jiu-Jitsu. It is a very happy moment for all of us to see Khaled taking the mat and do his best to make the UAE proud with a strong performance. I have been tracking his preparations in the build-up to the tournament and I am confident that he will end up amongst the medals. The kind of support that UAE athletes are getting in this arena will surely encourage all of them to push harder on the mat,” he said.
The UAE has gradually developed a deep bond with Jiu-Jitsu and the sport’s connection with youngsters is rapidly growing.
Mohammed Talal Al Kaabi, a 15-year-old spectator said that he was a keen Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and coming to the World Championship was an ideal way for him to watch elite athletes from close quarters. “I am confident that the UAE team will win lots of medals because of the quality and preparations of our athletes. I am here today because I want to support my country and this sport with all my energy. I am very excited about watching athletes from the UAE National Team compete because I am sure I can learn a lot from them that will help me become a better Jiu-Jitsu athlete myself,” he said.
For Asma Al Subaihi, who competes in the 63-kg class in the under-21 division, the presence of her sister Ghala Abdul Nasser Al Subaihi was a motivating factor and helped put her mind at ease.
“I am someone who likes to see a familiar face in the crowd when I am competing. It helps me to relax quicker. I am glad my sister is here. I am confident of my preparations and I am going to give it my all towards making the UAE proud,” she said. Ghala, her sister, said that having seen Asma work extremely hard in the run-up to the World Championship, she wanted to be present when she was standing on the podium. “Asma is very determined and she has worked very hard to ensure that the UAE flag flies high at the World Championship. I want to see her earning her reward for all those hours she has spent training for this Championship, and I am sure she will make us all proud,” she said.