Abu Dhabi: More than 1,500 competitors from 36 countries have descended on the capital to take part in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Cup (WPJJC), which begins at the First Gulf Bank Arena at Zayed Sports City on Wednesday.
The opening day of the four-day event will see more than 600 contestants in the 10-12-year-old boys’ age group compete in white, yellow, orange and green belt categories, while Thursday will bring more than 200 boys in the 14-17 years age group and girls aged from 10-14.
The action shifts to the adults on Friday, with 180 in action in the no-gi (submission wrestling) competition, before Saturday’s main gi (kimono) event, which has drawn 260 entries, including four Emiratis, for a total cash prize of $10,000 (Dh36,730).
Fahad Ali, chief executive of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, said this will be the first event to be held at the custom-built First Gulf Bank Arena.
“We are trying to improve the facilities all round because of the remarkable increase in the number of participants,” he said.
“The numbers have kept increasing every passing year and we are inundated with the demand for more competitions. The sport is fast spreading across the Middle East and now enjoying popularity all over Asia.
“This competition alone has drawn more than 1,000 schoolchildren, both Emiratis and expatriates. This is the result of the sport being included in the curriculum of the local schools. So, good times are ahead for the sport.
“We want to encourage people to come and watch and, while they enjoy the action on the mat, they can also win valuable prizes from the raffles drawn on the free entry tickets over all four days.”
Mohammad Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice-Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and Executive Director of the School Operations Sector in Abu Dhabi Education Council, commended the keen interest and support of the UAE’s leadership and praised the continuous support for jiu-jitsu by General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Cup
Wednesday, 11am — juniors
Thursday, 11am — juniors
Friday, 3pm — no-gi
Saturday, 11am — gi