ABU DHABI, Leading Emirati jiu-jitsu champions will compete against their Brazilian counterparts in the Black Belt Finals of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2018, which will be held tomorrow on 29th April, after today's action at the Mubadala Arena.

Witnessed by packed crowds, the best male and female jiu-jitsu competitors from around the world competed in the quarter and semi-finals of the Adult Black Belt divisions while the Adult Brown Belt and Master 1 Brown and Black Belt finals saw Emirati champions Musabbeh Al Khateri and Mohammed Radhi winning gold medals.

Renowned local athlete Faisal Al Ketbi, a black belt in the 85-kilogramme, kg, category, defeated Clifford Edwards and Bruno Reale to progress to tomorrow's final against Isaque Braz. Following his success against Taj Azzedine, Talib Al Karbi defeated Mike Easton in an exciting semi-final match, to secure his place in the Championship's final round.

Bringing the 2017-2018 season to a close, the finals will earn its gold medallists 400 points while offering its competitors a final opportunity to significantly boost their season rankings. In the black and brown belt rounds, the championship has adopted a double elimination bracket for the main draw, which groups countries together, meaning that a maximum of two competitors per country will proceed to tomorrow's rounds.

Today's Adult Brown Belt Division finals resulted in seven gold and four bronze medals that were awarded to Brazil while Australia took two bronze medals.

The Master 1 Brown Belt categories saw Brazil top the rankings with two gold medals and one silver while the UAE came a close second, taking two gold medals and one bronze, with Emirati competitors Musabbeh Al Khateri and Mohammed Radhi won the 69kg and 85kg categories respectively. Kazakhstan came in third place with two silver medals.

In the Black Belt Master 1 finals, Brazil came first overall with four gold medals, four silver medals and three bronzes while Australia ranked second with one silver and one bronze. Sweden and Russia came joint third with one gold medal each.

The championship is being held by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, UAEJJF, 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, with the attendance of several high-profile dignitaries.

Among those who attended today were H.H. Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman; Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Director of the Martyrs' Families' Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court; Mohmmed Al Junaibi, Director of the President's Protocol Office at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs; Dr. Ahmed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Secretary-General of the Executive Council; Abdulmonem Al Hashemi, UAEJJF Chairman, and Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Advisor to the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge.

Sheikh Ammar, who awarded today's winners, said, "I am pleased to see such a high level of public attendance and engagement with jiu-jitsu today, with the attendance of representatives from around the world. I would like to congratulate today's winners and thank all those who took part in the championship for their incredible efforts."

He added that Emirati participation was particularly strong this year and praised the UAEJJF for its efforts and success in providing world-class training facilities, as well as its local and international role in advancing the sport.

Also present was Panagiotis Theodoropoulos, President of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation, who said, "With the support of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the people and government of the UAE have succeeded in creating a strong name for jiu-jitsu, and Abu Dhabi is now officially recognised as the sport's global capital."

Speaking about the championship, Theodoropoulos added, "This event involves the best professional athletes in the world, all of whom follow their own styles and bring different techniques to the mats, and you can see their high standards here today."

"Today's world-class jiu-jitsu action has been riveting, with close matches between the best athletes in the world. We are proud of the level of technical ability and skilled athleticism that we witnessed during the championship, with today being the 12th consecutive day of world-class jiu-jitsu," Al Hashimi said.

"Every year, the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship is establishing itself as a major global sporting event, due to the diligent efforts of the UAEJJF. The Championship is a benchmark for other jiu-jitsu championships around the world, with the volume and calibre of participation becoming the gold standard. These experiences have paved the way for the UAE to continue developing the sport on a global level," he added.

Source: Emirates News Agency