While the UAE has for some time been on the fast track to becoming a jiu-jitsu powerhouse, other countries in the region are also upping their game at the 12th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship held in the UAE capital from April 6-9.
Ali Monfaradi, a black belt holder from Bahrain, will compete in the 69-kg category and said that he was happy to get the chance to compete in such a prestigious tournament.
“Just qualifying for the ADWPJJC in my category is a very humbling feeling,” he said. “My category has traditionally been dominated by South American athletes and has been quite a difficult one to crack on the global level. I have been training extremely hard to ensure that I put on a strong performance and do Bahrain and myself proud.”
The ADWPJJC will welcome 2,000 athletes from across the world and Monfaradi is delighted the UAEJJF was able to organize the tournament during these challenging times.
“The chance to come and fight at this tournament is a true gift,” he said. “I am so thankful to the organisers for ensuring that the ADWPJJC comes through. The global jiu-jitsu community is lucky to get a chance to compete on such a huge platform.”
Camile Sleiman from Lebanon, who will be competing in the masters category, said that after looking at Abu Dhabi’s previous record of putting on high profile events amid the pandemic, he felt very safe travelling to the UAE’s capital for the ADWPJJC.
“This is the first jiu-jitsu tournament I have participated in since the pandemic began and I am very excited,” said Sleiman. “I have managed to train regularly but fighting at a competition as important as this is always very exciting. I received my black belt in December and I am looking forward to fighting in a new division and against some amazing athletes.”
Qutayba Alloughani, a blue belt holder representing Kuwait in the 85-kg category, said that he was seeing a growing number of people taking up the sport competitively in the Middle East.
“I think jiu-jitsu is a beautiful sport and we are seeing accomplished champions emerging from our region over the last few years,” he said. “Back home in Kuwait, more people are taking it up and awareness about its benefits is growing. I am looking forward to doing well here at the ADWPJJC and helping to raise interest about jiu-jitsu in my country.”
Action at the ADWPJJC begins on Tuesday, April 6 with athletes in the under-18 and under-21 categories taking to the mats at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena, followed by the masters category on April 7. The final two days of the competition are reserved for action in the professional division as top male and female stars of global jiu-jitsu go toe-to-toe.