UAE star Omar Al Fadhli on top of the world as Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship heads for a thrilling finale

ABU DHABI, The cream of global jiu-jitsu talent rose to the top at 13th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (ADWPJJC), as they took to the mats on day four of the largest and most prestigious event on the global jiu-jitsu calendar, at Jiu Jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City.

The championship lived up to its tagline of ‘The Capital of Heroes’ as the world’s leading male and female brown and black belts took centre stage on nine mats at the home of jiu-jitsu. And after a thrilling week of action so far, which started on Sunday youth; and was followed by masters showing their experience, it was the turn of the sport’s top men and women to show martial arts magic.

In the presence of distinguished guests including H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Adrian Macelar, Romania’s Ambassador to the UAE, and Sara Al Musallam, Chairperson of the Abu Dhabi Department of Knowledge and Education (ADEK), Abdul Moneim Al Hashemi, President of the UAE and Asian Federations, and Senior Vice President of the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation; and Mohamed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice Chairman, UAEJJF.

Flying the flag for Abu Dhabi, Omar Al Fadhli showed his class to claim gold in the 62kg men’s brown belt competition with a 6-3 victory over Brazil’s Leonardo Mario. After his victory, Al Fadhli was upgraded to black belt on the podium in the presence of Sheikh Zayed bin Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abdul Moneim Al Hashemi, and Hollywood action hero Steven Seagal.

“To win another gold medal in this remarkable championship is very special. The best feeling any athlete can have is carrying their country’s flag on the podium and I’m honoured to have been able to do that. And to then be awarded with the black belt, it really doesn’t get much better.”

“I have trained exceptionally hard for this moment and gained a lot of experience during previous championships such as the Asian Championship and World Championship that brought me to this point. This gold is the pinnacle of my career to date as it is my first and as it turns out, the last, with a brown belt.”

I had a feeling I would be facing Leonardo in the final, so I’ve been studying him really hard in recent weeks, so I knew how to get the better of him,” added Al Fadhli.

Al Fadhli becomes the youngest jiu-jitsu black belt in the Middle East, at the age of just 21, an achievement acknowledged by the country’s top jiu-jitsu officials.

“As we celebrate this achievement today, we must extend our highest gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. This championship has become the most renowned in the world in the shortest possible time and has contributed to the sons of our country becoming world champions. It has also brought together thousands of competitors from countries of the world,” said Abdul Moneim Al Hashemi, President of the UAE and Asian Federations, and First Vice President of the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation.

“We consider our school jiu-jitsu programme, which was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and chosen by the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation as the best programme for the dissemination and development of the game, as the foundation for discovering, refining and creating heroes of UAE jiu-jitsu. We take this opportunity to thank our partners in schools, families, sponsors and supporters, because what Omar has achieved is an achievement for every Emirati citizen and a badge of pride that makes him a role model for all players from future generations.”

“This achievement is a success for the school programme, which now has 180,000 male and female players. Undoubtedly, reaching the black belt stage in the sport of jiu-jitsu is the dream of every professional player, and this journey may take years, but Omar shortened the time thanks to his diligence to be one of the youngest players in the history of this sport.”

Renowned UAE National team head coach Ramon Lemos, said:” Omar thoroughly deserves his black belt. He has worked incredibly hard, has improved his technical ability and his dedication is there for all to see. The way he approached this week and studying his opponents is a great lesson to the youngsters coming through.”

Meanwhile, Adrian Macelaru, Ambassador of Romania to the UAE, praised the “perfect” organisation of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, stressing that Abu Dhabi outperforms itself with each new edition of this tournament. He pointed to the positive role of the UAE in supporting efforts to establish global peace and security and its embracing of many cultures.

He added: “As the UAE prepares to celebrate its 50th National Day, it is proving to the world that it represents the best model for development in the region, as it succeeded in welcoming more than 190 countries under the roof of Expo 2020, an achievement that words cannot describe.”

The 13th ADWPJJC concludes on Friday, 19th November, with the finals of the of the men’s and women’s black belt divisions and the end of season awards ceremony.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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