The future of adult women’s jiu-jitsu in the UAE and beyond is in safe hands following a thrilling day of action at the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship- the dedicated competition for local and international youth at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2019 (ADWPJJC).
Held under theHis Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, day two of the ADWPJJC 2019 saw hundreds of girls aged 10-17, contest 73 age, weight and belt categories at Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi - the global home of jiu-jitsu.
The UAE won the girls’ contest by claiming a huge 54,320 points, which included 17 gold, 29 silver and 59 bronze medals. Twenty-two victories by female youths from Ukraine ensured the country finished second on 2,160 points with two gold, two silver and one bronze medal.
Australia finished third on 2,080 points with 15 wins resulting in one gold, two silver and three bronze medals.
The UAE’s dominant girls received a further boost with a visit by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, who was given a tour of the event by Abdulmunam Al Hashemi, Chairman of UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, President of Jiu-Jitsu Asian Union & Senior Vice President of Jiu-Jitsu International Federation.
"His Highness spoke about how the Championship is improving every year and how the numbers increase year-on-year. His Highness said it was beautiful to see the progress we have made – it’s pressure for us but it’s also very inspirational for me and the whole team at the Federation," said Al Hashemi.
Among the VIPs watching the UAE girls take overall glory were Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education; Mohammed Abdullah Al Junaidi, Head of Presidential Protocol, Ministry of Presidential Affairs; Maryam Eid Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Government Media Office; and Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Director General of Abu Dhabi Media Company.
H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi also awarded medals to several winners, one of which was Nouf Khamis Al Balooshi, who won gold in the 63kg category for orange green belt Teens.
"It was the dream of my life so far to win a gold medal and I’m so proud and honoured to have been given my medal by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi – I feel this is an honour for the whole UAE."
Al Balooshi’s medal was one of many as the UAE’s female youths produced powerful displays evoking the values of jiu-jitsu: tolerance, discipline, respect and determination. Amongst those demonstrating girl power was Shaikha Al Tamimi, 12 years, from Al Samha School, who took gold in the Junior, yellow belt, 75kg category.
"Winning the first place and the gold medal makes me feel like I was climbing a big mountain and I reached the top today, that was one of my ambitions. I did not expect to win and I’m so happy to get a gold medal I think my family will also be proud of me," said Al Tamimi.
Hamdah Alkalbani, representing Abu Dhabi’s Al Wahda Club - Jiu-Jitsu Academy, was another Emirati youth to savour ultimate glory: "I am very happy to win first place and the gold medal," said Alkalbani, 13 years. "I did not expect to win, but I have been training twice a day to be ready for this championship. I love Jiu-Jitsu so much, it teaches us persistence and respect - I encourage girls to join in this sport. I’d also like to thank my family who have been the biggest supporter for me."
With high-intensity action on the mats underlined the growing popularity of jiu-jitsu amongst young females worldwide, Mr. Fahad Al Shamsi, Chief Executive Officer, UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, believes the UAE girls’ medals tally show the extent of progress being made at grassroots level across the country.
"The quality of results achieved show our youth programmes are among the best in the world and how our young women are embracing jiu-jitsu’s core values. The quality and level of action on display today illustrates that the future is extremely bright for women’s jiu-jitsu in the UAE and around the world. It is an honour for us to provide an arena for the girls to compete and continue learning," said Al Shamsi.
Following the girls’ competition, the second day of the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship will see boys aged 10-17, holding grey, yellow, orange, green and blue belts compete in Infant, Junior, Teen and Juvenile categories. Action starts from 11am at the Mubadala Arena.
"The girls raised the bar to an all-new high today and we are confident the boys will follow suit in what is always one of the most hotly-contested categories of the entire week," said Mohammed Hussein Al Marzooqi, Director of Marketing and Finance at the UAEJJF and Director of the ADWPJJC.