UAE set to welcome world elite for 8th Annual Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

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:

World’s best players to descend on Abu Dhabi from 15-24 April 2016 at IPIC Arena, Zayed Sports City

The biggest-ever 10 day Championship to include World Jiu-Jitsu Youth Cup and tailored workshops for judges and anti-doping, as well as family-focused sessions to make the sporting spectacle fun and accessible for all

The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, 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, today unveiled its spectacular plans for the 10-day sporting spectacle in the Capital’s IPIC Arena in Zayed Sports City between 15-24 April. The signature event will host the finest Jiu-Jitsu names from more than 100 different countries, all coming to the UAE to battle for coveted world titles and the generous prize fund of over AED 2.5m. The 8th Annual Championship is poised to be the biggest ever instalment of the globally acclaimed competition.

The UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, organizers of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2016, officially launched the event today joined by dignitaries, special guests who reveled in excitement as the global capital of Jiu-Jitsu prepares for the emphatic celebration of the sport across the country.

The launch of the 2016 Championship was attended by Mr. Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, CEO and board member of UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, HE Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Mr. Yaqoub Al Sa’adi, Head of Abu Dhabi Sports Channels and Mr. Hamad Al Ahbabi, Business Support Director, from International Petroleum and Investment Company (IPIC).

While thousands of the world’s best male and female players are expected to showcase their phenomenal skills and athleticism on the mat, the 2016 edition will be fun and accessible for sports enthusiasts of all ages.

Through the inaugural Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Festival; a new and welcome addition to the programme this year, which is for UAE Nationals only under the age of 18 years old who are members of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and have loyalty cards. The festival is set for the first two days of the 10-day marquee event, and is a major initiative set to break down barriers and foster the sport of Jiu-Jitsu to the wider community.

Following on from the hugely successful introduction of the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Youth Cup in 2014, the next generation of professional players will once again compete in the state-of-the-art IPIC Arena between 17-18 April, as aspiring stars from all over the world gather for two days of inspirational competition and world-class action. As part of the Youth Cup, there will be a variety of workshops, some of which will be advanced workshops tailored for referees and judges as well as an anti-doping workshop. Further workshops will be announced closer to the Championship.

The best youth players will be monitored by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation throughout the competition, offering a select group support and encouragement to develop their skills. The heroes of tomorrow will no doubt be inspired by the world elite set to compete between 19-23 April, featuring the hugely anticipated return of Emirati crowd favorite Faisal Al Ketbi, the Black Belt outsider set to go head to head with a star studded line up from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Korea, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom and the USA.

The Championship will also welcome legendary and world-renowned, current and retired, players to the capital in a move to bring all the fans of the sport an opportunity to watch these stars roll out the action on April 23rd.

The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2016 will be aired live through Abu Dhabi Sport TV, showcasing the star quality on offer to the world. With more than 1,800 players of all ages competing on the mat, including the reigning Black Belt Open heavyweight World Champion Marcus Almeida and the female open weight Black Belt Champion Mackenzie Dern, sports fans are ready to witness Jiu-Jitsu of the highest order across the upcoming 10 days of action. The 2015/2016 season of Jiu-Jitsu has witnessed great development in the qualifying rounds of the players whereas the players undergo extensive local and international qualifying tournaments in additional to four major tours in the international Grand Slam.

As part of this action, fans will experience the ultimate clash of Jiu-Jitsu talent with the new Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Legends on the final day of competition, April 23rd. Alongside the exciting finals for 3rd Place, Black Belt, Youth and Open Weight, the Jiu-Jitsu Legends will feature six players at the top of their sport from across the globe. The closing day of the championship will witness an awards ceremony for sponsors and participating parties who have contributed to the success of the tournament.

Speaking at the official launch of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2016, Mr. Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, spoke on behalf of HE Abdulmunem Al Hashemi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Federation:

“In all past and current endeavours, we continue to recall the words of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, that the true fortune of the UAE is its people and we can surely count on its people to spearhead change, innovation and creativity in all aspects of society. It is from this sentiment that the current and future endeavours of the UAE, including the Jiu-Jitsu Federation and the global Championship, have continued to thrive. With the continued inspiration we get from His Highness’ words, who himself is the main support of Jiu-Jitsu, we’ve worked hard to make sure that the 8th edition of this annual Championship will be the biggest and most memorable ever – with record numbers of international participants battling to be crowned champions and an expanded festival of activities setting a new benchmark for the wider community involvement. We’re expecting more than 5,000 entries across the numerous divisions, and we’re tremendously proud to welcome sports fans and athletes alike to the most spectacular installment to date. Our gratitude is extended to our sponsors for supporting us in our quest to make the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship the best yet.”

Unique to the Championship is its free and open to attend format for the public, continuing its commitment to grass roots participation and engagement with national events. The eighth edition will enthrall fans with a celebration of current talent and past development of the sport in unique and will see the return of an even greater IPIC Fan Zone which includes sponsor activities, family events and interactive stands, as well as the raffle where all visitors will have the chance to win exciting prizes including two brand new cars from Premier Motors that include a Jaguar XE and Land Rover Discovery Sport.

His Excellency Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Managing Director of the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) said: “Our participation in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship as an Official Partner gives IPIC the opportunity to support champions of the UAE national Jiu-Jistu team. IPIC empowers our future through its world-wide investments in the energy and related sector, yet on a community level we aim to encourage young athletes to reach further heights by focusing on excelling in their sportsmanship and aspiring to reach achievements on a local and global level.”

“Introducing the sport of Jiu-Jitsu to the youth is of great importance to us, which is why we are proud to return the Youth Cup for its third year. The next generation of players will always have the full and unequivocal support of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, but we’re also very pleased to have included the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Festival for the first time this year – which serves as testament to our commitment in making the 2016 edition a celebration of the sport for the public that will leave a lasting legacy for generations to come. Throughout the past 8 years Abu Dhabi has firmly solidified its position as the global capital of Jiu-Jitsu, and we’re eagerly awaiting this momentous new edition that will once again set the world of Jiu-Jitsu alight,” added Al Shamsi.

Further to exceptional growth within the Championship, the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and the Abu Dhabi government continues to bring together both sport and local entities across the Emirates to foster the teachings and benefits of Jiu-Jitsu not only in current but future generations: “The collaborations between the Federation and these local entities help achieve strategic and measurable goals towards building a stronger Emirati community. This is reflected in the Championship wherein each day welcomes a different initiative magnifying the importance and meaning of these goals. Abu Dhabi has strongly reinforced its position over the past 8 years as the world capital of Jiu-Jitsu and we are eagerly awaiting the new format and return of the Championship.”

In the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, the main event champions will be greeted with an exclusive Red Carpet Awards ceremony on the 24th April. Winners will be selected according to new international rankings, developed by the federation during 2015/2016 season and based on the performance of the players in the final round of the tournament.

Returning in support of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2016 will be the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC). IPIC is the Official Partner of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and will be welcoming fans to their larger fan zone. The 2016 installment of the championship will also see Etihad Airways returns as the Official Airline, while Premier Motors and Land Rover take the position of Exclusive Automotive Partner. Also providing their backing to the Championship will be Official Media Partner, Abu Dhabi Media and Diamond Sponsors; Abu Dhabi Police and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). Gold Sponsors include Al Saqer Group, Dolphin Energy Limited and Emirates Global Aluminum will show their support, while Advanced Military Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Center (AMMROC), National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), Tawazun and Al Khajjah Group, new for 2016 take on Silver Sponsorship.

Dates:

Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Festival

· Friday, 15th April – Saturday 16th April 2016 (New 2 day tournament)

Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Cup

· Sunday, 17th April – Monday 18th April 2016 (2 day tournament)

Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2016

· Tuesday, 19th April – Saturday 23rd April 2016 (Extended 5 day tournament)

Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Legends

· Saturday 23rd April 2016 (New programme)

Location: IPIC Arena, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Awards

(celebration of tournament winners)

·Sunday 24th April 2016 Location: TBC

Quotes from Esteemed Sponsors of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2016:

Abu Dhabi Sports Council – Mr Aref Hamad Al Awni, General Secretary

For his part, H E Aref Hamad Al Awni, ADSC General Secretary, expressed their thanks and gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, for his continuous care and support to Jiujitsu sports in our country.

Al Awani also extended their thanks to H H Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice Chairman of the Executive Council, and to HH Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor, and H H Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of ADSC for the ongoing support to Jiu-Jitsu sports in the UAE.

Al Awani praised hosting in Abu Dhabi, and for the 8th year in a row, the Abu Dhabi world Jiu-Jitsu professional championship, and the juniors jujitsu World Cup.

He assured hosting these events here in our capital is consolidating the reputation of Abu Dhabi as a highly distinguished hub for world-class events and championships.

Concluding his statement, Al Awani praised the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and its Chairman Abdul Moniem Al Hashemi for their highly appreciated efforts to assure the prominent status of Jiu-Jitsu sports in our country, and for prominent regional and continental achievements of UAE Jiu-Jitsu fighters.

He wishes UAE fighters all the best for the coming event which will witness Jiu-Jitsu champions from more than 100 countries competing to win the designed coveted accolades.

Abu Dhabi Sports Channel – Yaqoub Al Sa’adi, Head of Sports

For his part, Mr Yaqoub Al Sa’adi, head of Abu Dhabi Sports Channel at Abu Dhabi Media, the official Media Partner, said: “Abu Dhabi Sports has always been known for being the leader in local and international sports coverage. Reaffirming the strategic relaunch of the channel this past year, we’ve utilized the latest technology to provide exceptional sports content to its audiences.”

He confirmed Abu Dhabi Sports commitment to prioritize the sport of Jiu-Jitsu at the top of its programming, due to the role this sport plays in continuing to provide content on par with Abu Dhabi Sports’ standards.

He added that Abu Dhabi Sports reaffirms its commitment to developing its programming beyond local sports, which the continued partnership between Abu Dhabi Television Network and the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship helps achieve this commitment by its reach to the sport’s worldwide community.

The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2016 is proudly supported by:

Official Partner: International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC)

Official Airline: Etihad Airways

Exclusive Automotive Partner: Premier Motors and Land Rover

Official Media Partner: Abu Dhabi Media

Diamond Sponsors: Abu Dhabi Police and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)

Gold Sponsors: Al Saqer Group, Dolphin Energy Limited and Emirates Global Aluminum

Silver Sponsors: Advanced Military Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Center (AMMROC), Al Khajjah Group, National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and Tawazun

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