Athletes in action during the opening day of the AJP Tour UAE National Pro.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The UAE won the most medals on Saturday at the AJP Tour UAE National Pro, organised by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Pro (AJP), got off to a colourful start at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi with impressive performances by players from different nationalities, clubs, and academies.
The competitions attracted hundreds of players from more than 50 nations and were noted for the large crowds that flocked to the Jiu-Jitsu Arena to support their favourite competitors who took to mats in the Teens, Youth, and Masters divisions.
The UAE National Pro is the fourth round of the five rounds of the AJP events, which are held across the nation. The first day of the tournament saw Commando Group winning the first place, while Palms Sports ranked runner-up and A.F.N.T in third place. In terms of country rankings, Columbia and Brazil secured second and third places respectively.
“The strong presence of the elite clubs and academies from the UAE as well as other countries enriches the competitions and aligns with the UAEJJF’s vision to promote sports, expanding the base of participants and creating an ideal environment for the development of champions,” said Youssef Abdullah Al Batran, a board member of the UAEJJF.
“The UAE National Pro which featured hundreds of male and female competitors from more than 50 countries, serves as a mini version of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. The large crowd cheering for the winners highlights jiu-jitsu as one of the world’s and region’s fastest-growing sports.”
For his part, Tariq Al Bahri, General Manager of AJP, said: “Our championships enjoy a prestigious international standing, and provide the opportunity for sports lovers around the world to participate and maintain their levels and readiness for various upcoming competitions. One of the most important gains of the AJP Championships, is that it paves the way for a group of future stars of the game who represent the mainstay of the national teams.”
Ali Al Tunaiji, a yellow belt player for the Al Jazira club, who won the gold in the championship in the Teen category, weighing 84 kg, expressed his great happiness at climbing the podium: “We were able to overcome the challenges and win the gold medal despite the tough and arduous competitions because of our thorough preparation for the championship and ongoing training. I will continue to put in a lot of effort for future competitions, especially the Vice President Cup and the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship,” he said.
For her part, the Brazilian Thay Paixao from Al Ain Club who won the women’s 80 kg gold medal, said. “My goals are clear for the next stage, which is to prepare to participate in the upcoming championships. I have now obtained 1000 rating points and I hope I can achieve more medals during the annual Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship.”