ABU DHABI: A team of 86 athletes from the UAE are set to take part in the JJIF World Championship Youth 2023, which opens on Tuesday in Astana, Kazakhstan, the UAE Ju-Jitsu Federation has announced.
About 1,100 fighters from 44 countries will compete across various weight divisions in three age categories: under-16, under-18 and under-21.
The UAE team, sponsored by Mubadala Investment Co., have been preparing for the event at an intensive training camp and are hoping to build on the wins achieved by the senior squad at the World Championship in Mongolia in July and the Asian Championship in Thailand in February.
At last year’s youth event, in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s under-16 team won 19 medals, with the under-18s and under-21s both picking up 17. The results led to the UAE winning the championship title for the third year in a row.
At the previous championship, also held in the UAE capital, the under-21s won 17 medals and the under-18s picked up 15.
Mohamed Salem Al Dhaheri, deputy chairman of the UAE Ju-Jitsu Federation, said he expected the nation’s fighters to continue the winning trend in Astana.
“I have full faith in our talented UAE team to deliver a stellar performance on the international stage once again. Their commitment to excellence and their relentless training regimen have prepared them to represent our nation with honor and distinction and raise the nation’s flag high,” he said.
“The JJIF World Championship YOUTH 2023 marks the UAE team’s fifth international participation. Also, the team had the championship title in the past three editions. Our athletes’ dedication to perfecting their skills and their eagerness to compete at the highest level is truly commendable. We are steadfast in our belief that they will not only make us proud but also inspire aspiring athletes across the UAE.”
Ramon Lemos, the national team’s head coach, said the fighters had been working hard ahead of the competition.
“Our athletes have undergone rigorous training and tactical refinement. Their determination to excel is matched only by their technical prowess.” he said.
“As their coach, I am confident that they are primed to make a lasting mark on the international ju-jitsu landscape. We are currently in the final stages of preparation, focusing on enhancing their physical and mental strength. I have absolute confidence that they will give their utmost effort, filling us all with pride.”
Omar Alsuwaidi, who will compete in the 56 kg division in the under-21 category, said he and the rest of the team were committed to replicating the country’s previous medal achievements.
“I am filled with excitement and honor as I take on the role of representing the UAE on this remarkable stage once again,” he said.
“My teammates and I share an unwavering commitment to not only showcase our skills but also embody the true spirit of sportsmanship and unwavering dedication.
“We are fully aware of the significant responsibilities entrusted to us and we are committed to fulfilling these responsibilities.”