Emirati grapplers top medal standings at Abu Dhabi tourney

ABU DHABI: The AJP Tour UAE National Pro championships ended here on Sunday at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena, with the host country’s athletes taking home the most medals courtesy of some outstanding performances in both the amateur and professional divisions.

The two-day tournament was organized by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Pro.

Commando Group won the club competition followed by Palms Sports in second and A.F.N.T. in third. In the country rankings, the UAE came on top, followed by Brazil and Columbia in second and third places respectively.

“Based on the vision of the wise leadership to support athletes and sports, the UAEJJF is constantly working to provide the best competitive environment for the nation’s players, pave the way for progress and advancement, and climb the ladder of glory,” said Mohamed Salem Al-Dhaheri, vice chairman of the UAEJJF.

“The competition has benefited greatly the athletes’ preparation for significant continental and international events, most notably the World Championship and the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship, in addition to allowing them the opportunity to compete against the top schools in the world.”

Ramon Lemos, the UAE national team’s coach, praised the team members for their performances.

“The UAE National Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship surpassed all expectations and offered a distinctive model at the technical, organizational, and participation levels in terms of top-tier athletes, particularly the (campaigns of the) brown and black belts,” he said.

“In October and November, we’ll be witnessing two of the most prestigious jiu-jitsu competitions in the world: The Jiu-Jitsu World Championship and the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. The national team’s preparations are in full swing, and I have no doubts whatsoever that our squad will excel and solidify its domination over the sport.

“We are eager to learn from and incorporate the challenges that our players faced today because many of them will make up the core of the national teams at the coming championships. To qualify them and improve their readiness for the impending (contests) is a component of our preparation activities.”

Khaled Mohammed Al-Shehhi of Al-Ain Club, the brown belt national team member who won gold in the 62-kilogram category, said: “Given the nature and level of the contestants, the tournament was rife with intensity and rivalry and served as the ideal warmup for the World Championship and the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship.”

Balqis Al-Hashemi from Palms Sports Academy and the winner of the gold medal in the 49-kilogram weight category, is also focusing on the upcoming championships.

“I want to give my best effort at the international level and use my recent experience to prepare for the next (contests).”

Brazil’s Riu Neto from Al-Wahda Club, who secured gold in the 85-kilogram division, said: “I am delighted that I was able to win the medal today. My patience and determination allowed me to achieve this target, even though I had to compete against some of the toughest opponents. As competing in Abu Dhabi’s professional tournaments is a goal for the most prominent players in the world, I am keen to take part in all the competitions held there.”

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