Mohammed Al Qubaisi’s team ‘Al Abyad’ were crowned winners of the Jiu-Jitsu Champions Challenge against ‘Azraq’, the side led by Faisal Al Ketbi at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena on Wednesday, May 20. The inaugural edition of the Jiu-Jitsu Champions Challenge was organized by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, the governing body for the sport in the Emirates.
The tournament, organised in line with Federal and global COVID-19 health and safety protocols, brought together the cream of Emirati jiu-jitsu fighters, with prominent members of the UAE jiu-jitsu national team being pitted against each other.
The Al Abyad team bagged 14 wins out of 25 matchups, clearly placing them on top of the points table. The winner of each fight was awarded 100 points. In case of a win by submission, the winner was awarded an extra 50 points. Al Qubaisi’s team racked up a total of 1600 points against Al Ketbi’s1250 points.
The winning team rode on a series of strong performances from Omar Al Fadhli, Mohammed Al Suwaidi, and Salem Mubarak Al Dhaheri in the adults category, while Rashed Al Shehhi, Theyab Al Nuaimi, and Faraj Al Awlaqi posted memorable wins in the youth categories. Team ‘Azraq’ also had a few notable performances with Sultan Al Hosani, Saeed Al Mazrouei, and Ali Al Bannai performing encouragingly in the adults category while Omar Al Suwaidi, Mahdi Al Awlaqi and Saeed Al Kubaisi held their own in the youth categories.
H.E. Abdul Munam Al Hashemi, President of the UAEJJF and the Ju-Jitsu Asian Union, Vice President of the International Ju-Jitsu Federation, said that the performances on the mat at the Jiu-Jitsu Champions Challenge were proof of the benefits accrued during the closed training camp of the national team. “Our athletes have wholeheartedly embraced their training schedules during the camp and the benefits were clearly visible on the mat. A number of young talented athletes gave a very good account of themselves last night and the emergence of Faisal Al Ketbi and Mohammed Al Qubaisi, two experienced campaigners, as guiding lights to the younger generation has been another encouraging sign.”
Mubarak Al Menhali, technical director at UAEJJF, said that with the closed training camp coming to an end on May 24, the tournament had been an ideal platform to test the athletes. “Participating in the closed training camp has seen our athletes and coaching staff make a number of sacrifices. However, it was heartening to see all the hard work that has been put in paying off on the mat. The coaching staff has worked hard at helping ease the athletes back into a competitive mindset and we are now looking forward to building on these gains.”
Saed Hijazi, assistant general manager – Land Rover & Jaguar, Premier Motors, the official dealer for Land Rover and Jaguar vehicles in Abu Dhabi, a long-time sponsor of the UAEJJF said, “The UAEJJF leadership is taking inspiring steps to ensure its top athletes can compete at the highest international level in the future tournaments as soon as they are able to be staged. Providing a safe training environment as well as a competitive platform to the elite Emirati fighters will enable them to be at the top of their game and improve the weaker aspects of their fighting techniques. We congratulate the UAEJJF and all participating athletes on the successful staging of the Jiu-Jitsu Champions Challenge.”
Khalifa Al Mazrouei from the Corporate Government Relations department at Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) said, “EGA congratulates the UAEJJF on the successful organisation of the Jiu-Jitsu Champions Challenge, a world-class, national sporting event. We also commend the care being taken to ensure the safety of all participants and their efforts to encourage the sport’s enthusiasts to stay safe during this time and enjoy the broadcast of the event from their homes.”