ABU DHABI, The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2018 kicked off on Monday, launching 13 consecutive days of jiu-jitsu tournaments, beginning with the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Festival that runs until 22nd April.

Over the course of activities held by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, UAEJJF, more than 9,000 athletes from 100 countries around the world will grapple it out in Abu Dhabi for the top titles and cash prizes totalling US$1 million.

The championship is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, who has been instrumental in the growth and development of the sport, both locally and internationally.

The first day of activities opened with the National Service Authority Jiu-Jitsu Championship, a special tournament for Emirati males that includes white, blue and purple belt categories. The tournament sees thousands of Emirati athletes battle it out on the mats for the top spot.

The opening day also saw coaches of black belts from Palms Sports, the technical arm and strategic partner of the UAEJJF, give an exciting demonstration of advanced jiu-jitsu skills and self-defence techniques.

With activities underway, all eyes are on the Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, where the tournaments are being held in front of packed crowds of dignitaries, athletes and fans alike. The world-class sporting venue has been transformed for the two-week event.

Abdelmoneim Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and President of the Jiu-Jitsu Asian Union and Senior Vice-President of Jiu-Jitsu International Federation, said, "This tenth edition of this championship is a landmark event that represents a decade of phenomenal growth for the sport around the world. Nowhere is this more visible than the UAE, where jiu-jitsu has been officially adopted as the national sport, and our championship has grown from a two-day event into one of the sport's largest events in the world, which is the result of significant organisational efforts by our team. We look forward to seeing the strong competition over the course of the next two weeks and have already had some incredibly talented Emirati players take the mats today."

Meanwhile, the all-new activities' tent, which is free and open to members of the public throughout the championship, includes a number of areas showcasing local sports groups and official displays. The Ministry of Interior which signed a three-year strategic partnership and sponsorship agreement with the UAEJJF last week is showcasing its activities alongside the Abu Dhabi Police and the Dubai Police.

Source: Emirates News Agency