• 24 / Apr / 2019

Opening ADWPJJC matches highlight Abu Dhabi’s status as the home of jiu-jitsu as athletes from 79 countries and 221 clubs hit the mats at Mubadala Arena on Wednesday


Abu Dhabi, UAE – April 24, 2019: The 11th edition of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (ADWPJJC) 2019, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, sprang into action at Mubadala Arena today, with international athletes from 79 countries cementing Abu Dhabi’s status as the global home of jiu-jitsu.

International Jiu-Jitsu stars take to the Mubadala Arena mats

On the first day of the ADWPJJC 2019, adult male and female athletes holding black, brown, purple and blue belts - under the age of 30 - contested matches in numerous weight categories ranging from 49kg to 110kg. The matches included national qualifiers for Brazil and Russia.

With athletes from 79 countries and 221 clubs competing, the most represented countries in terms of participating athletes were Brazil, the UAE, Russia and Kazakhstan.

Continents collide as global jiu-jitsu community lock horns in UAE capital

All ADWPJJC 2019 blue and purple belt divisions for men and women were completed on Wednesday. Brazil on 16,696 points with 16 golds, 3 silvers and 12 bronze finished as the top-ranked country. The UAE on 13,642 points with 2 golds, 8 silvers and one bronze was second, with Russia on 3,472 points, one silver and two bronze was third.

The UAE’s golds were claimed by Omar Al Fadhli from Team 777 in the men’s blue belt 62kg division, and Reem Abdulla from Al Wahda Club Jiu-Jitsu Academy in the women’s blue belt 49kg division.

With medals spread to every corner of the world - including Brazil, Sweden, Portugal, Italy, the Philippines and more all claiming wins in various divisions - the day’s top-ranked clubs were Alliance from Brazil on 5,048 points with seven golds, one silver and three bronze; Al Wahda Club Jiu-Jitsu Academy on 3,712 points with one gold, two silvers and one bronze; and Al Ain Jiu-Jitsu Club on 3,624 points, three silvers and one bronze.

“This is my first gold in four attempts in Abu Dhabi. I am so happy, this means so much to me. I am back on the top of the podium in my first big competition of the year, it’s a good start to the season for me,” said a tearful Annie Ramirez, 28, from Clube de Jiu-Jitsu, who won the female’s purple belt 55kg division less than five years after switching from judo. “Jiu-jitsu is my path now and I want to dedicate this victory to the deaf students I’m teaching at home in the Philippines.”

After claiming victory in the female purple belt 62kg division, Italy’s Margot Ciccarelli, from Unity Jiu-Jitsu Club, said: “I love this tournament because winning in Abu Dhabi carries a huge level of prestige. The UAE is so passionate about jiu-jitsu, you can feel it on the mats. I’m really looking forward to competing here next year in the brown and black belt division.”

With male athletes vying for places in Thursday’s brown belt Finals, athletes from Russia, the USA, Angola, Sweden and Brazil among those who progressed.

With male black belt and female brown and black belt athletes taking part in qualifying matches for entry into Thursday’s elimination matches, hundreds of Brazilian and Russian athletes were whittled down during fiercely-contested country qualifiers.

After recovering from being diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2017, Brazil’s Joao Rocha, who only received the all-clear from his doctors two months ago, won his country’s 110kg qualifier to reach the ADWPJJC elimination matches on Thursday. “After everything I have been through, I’m very happy to win but the big victory is being here. Now, I want to win the competition,” said Rocha. “It will take seven fights to go from the start to becoming champion, I have three wins – I hope I can find four more.”

The ADWPJJC 2019 schedule

On Thursday’s second day of the ADWPJJC 2019, adult male brown belts will contest their division Finals, while male black belts and female black and brown belts in weight categories ranging from 49kg to 110kg will take part in elimination matches ahead of Friday’s ADWPJJC 2019 Finals.

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