Sheikh Khaled graces opening ceremony as UAE team star at Jiu-Jitsu World Championship opener


Sheikh Khaled visits Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Zayed Sports City on Saturday.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Sheikh Khaled Bin Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, attended the official opening ceremony of the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Zayed Sports City on Saturday.

The international championship, considered one of the most important events in the sport, will run until Nov.8.

The UAE national team, sponsored by Mubadala Investment Company, competed valiantly on the first day of the 27th edition of the Championship in the Under-16 division, seizing the lead in the medal table with nine medals, including 2 gold, 2 and 5 bronze. The Jiu-Jitsu Falcons, as they are affectionately referred to, produced an outstanding performance on the mats and demonstrated they were determined to defend the World Champions title secured last year.

Sheikh Khaled crowned the winners, accompanied by Abdel Moneim Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF), President of the Asian Jiu-Jitsu Union, and Senior Vice President of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation (JJIF), and Panagiotis Theodoropoulos, President of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation (JJIF).

Several ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions, including Orkhan Ismayilov, Consul, Embassy of Azerbaijan to UAE, Ngwe Thi Cam Tu, representing the Embassy of the Republic of Vietnam, and Wan Chun Shag, representing the Chinese Embassy in Taipei, along with representatives of the UAEJJF, JJIF, national federations and members of delegations from participating nations, attended the opening ceremony and competitions on the first day.

The Abu Dhabi Police Band’s captivating performance during the cheerful opening ceremony enthralled the large throng of competitors, families, and jiu-jitsu enthusiasts that flocked to the Arena for the opening ceremony.

In his remarks, Theodoropoulos praised the UAE for playing a trailblazing role in hosting major jiu-jitsu championships and for its steadfast commitment to the growth of jiu-jitsu globally.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice-Chairman of the UAEJJF, during his address, thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, for his relentless support to the sports and the athletes on their journey to success locally and globally, and Sheikh Khaled for his patronage of the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship.

“Support from the wise leadership is the best assurance that the championships hosted by the UAE will be a resounding success, that their objectives will be met, and that Abu Dhabi’s reputation as the global capital of jiu-jitsu in the world will only grow,” said Dhaheri.

Theodoropoulos added: “The tournament’s current iteration continues to record impressive figures in terms of players and participating countries. It demonstrates the UAE capital’s exceptional capacity to stage the biggest international jiu-jitsu competitions to the highest standards. Being a prominent hub for jiu-jitsu and making decisions that are in the interest of the sport, the UAE has played and continues to play a significant part in the game’s development.”

Abdulla Aldarmaki, who won silver in the +73kg division, kicked off the UAE’s medal haul on Day One. “I am thrilled to have taken home the silver medal on the World Championship’s opening day. Moments like these, when you represent the UAE at an international competition and grab a medal, are ones you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Receiving the medal from Sheikh Khaled made today even more memorable,” he said.

Leading the charge for the hosts was Ahmed Alshamsi, who secured the UAE’s first gold medal by defeating Kazakhstan’s Umarov Islam in the -42kg category. “My first experience playing for the UAE national team began with the gold. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the UAEJJF, the coaches, and everyone else who helped us out by giving us access to top-notch facilities and training. I send my warmest wishes to all my brothers and sisters competing in the days to come.”

Umarov Islam, on the hand, said he had a good fight and happy to have grabbed the second place. “I fought hard, even though I had to settle for second place. Jiu-jitsu contests in Abu Dhabi are always thrilling for me because I get to compete against and engage with the greatest athletes from across the globe.”

The competitions on Saturday also saw the UAE’s Ammar Alhmmadi securing gold in the Under 50kg weight division while Mansoor Alblooshi scooped silver in Under 38 kg category. Manea Abdulrahman (+73 kg), Eysa Alblooshi (-38 kg), Obaid Alketbi (-46 kg), Mohamed Alsada (-55 kg) and Andeez Ahmed (-66 kg) won bronze medals, making the UAE side look strong on the inaugural day.



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