With more than 300 Brazilian black belts employed as trainers in various sectors across the country, from schools to the armed forces and clubs, their dominance in the local jiu-jitsu competitions comes as no surprise.
The South Americans grabbed all 16 gold medals for both men and women at the Al Ain International at the UAE University auditorium on Saturday, as well as five of the six golds up for grabs in the No-Gi (without the traditional kimono) on Friday.
Adriano Araujo, winner of the black belt 77-kilogramme weight, praised the standard of competition in Al Ain, saying it was on a par with any other top-flight event being staged around the world.
“I arrived in Abu Dhabi three years ago and have been taking part in the local competitions and I can say it’s very, very tough with so many good fighters in the black belt division,” he said.
Araujo, 27, was returning to competition after a rib injury and his goal is to take part in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the Ipic Arena in April.
“I’m glad I won in Al Ain,” he added. “I won gold in the No-Gi and runner-up in the Gi competition last year. This time I concentrated only in the main competition and believe it’s a big step up to my preparation for the World Pro.
“My plan is to use the local competitions as part of my preparation for the World Pro as I have to divide my time between work and my own training.”
Araujo had to overcome two other Brazilians before beating Bahrain's Ali Munfaredi in the final.
Munfaredi had earlier ended the Brazilian domination of the black belt category when he stunned Samuel Canquerino in the open weight final in the No-Gi.
Zayed Al Kaabi, a member of the UAE national team, won a gold and silver over the two days of competition.
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The Emirati had to settle for a silver against Brazilian Vitor Leite in the No-Gi brown belt 110kg but was victorious over Moroccan Anas Mounir in the 108kg final.
“This type of competition is always beneficial for any fighter,” Al Kaabi said. “It’s truly an international platform here with more than 40 nationalities competing over the two days.”
Bashayer Al Matrooshi, Mahra Al Hanaei and Wadima Al Yafei, the teenage members of the UAE national women’s team, won golds in their respective weight classes in the blue belt juvenile division.
The trio were successful in last week’s Al Ain Kids International for under 18’s at the same venue, where they also collected gold medals.