DUBAI: After a stop-start year that has disrupted almost all sporting competitions around the globe, the world’s finest fighters have been landing in the UAE capital for the 12th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (ADWPJJC), the largest and most prestigious event on the global jiu-jitsu calendar.
The event will take place at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena from April 6-9.
Brazilian Joao Gabriel Sousa, winner of the gold medal in the 62-kg class in 2019, said that he was extremely happy about the decision of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) to ensure the tournament went ahead despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The ADWPJJC is the biggest show in the season and one tournament that I simply do not miss,” he said. “The quality of the athletes is excellent, the event is very well organised, and it is a tournament where you can really test yourself against the best in the world. I am really looking forward to competing in Abu Dhabi.”
Sousa’s compatriot and the 90-kg gold medallist two years ago, Gabrieli Pessanha, said she was looking forward to another strong performance at this year’s competition.
“Winning the gold medal in 2019 was very special and I want to do it again at a tournament as prestigious as the ADWPJJC,” the Brazilian 19-year-old black belt said. “This is the best championship to test yourself against the strongest fighters from all over the world and I love competing in Abu Dhabi.”
Another black belt who has already booked his ticket to Abu Dhabi is Poland’s Adam Wardzinski who won silver in the 94-kg weight class at the last two tournaments and is looking to go one better this time.
“It has been a very challenging year for all sportspersons and I am really happy that the UAEJJF have not stopped their efforts to organise this prestigious tournament,” Wardzinski said. “I have really happy memories of competing in Abu Dhabi. The ADWPJJC brings together the best of our sport’s talent and is the perfect place for a serious athlete to improve his game and also test himself against athletes he wouldn’t normally face.”
The ADWPJJC will be held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. It will offer a total prize fund of AED 2.7 million ($735,000).
The tournament will be held behind closed doors, with all participating athletes, officials, administrators, and staff undergoing regular PCR testing and adhering to social distancing and the wearing of masks.
The action kicks off on Tuesday, April 6, with athletes in the under-18 and under-21 categories taking to the mats, followed by the masters on April 7. The final two days are reserved for action in the professional category.