Emirati international Wadima Al Yafei takes gold as females debut at President's Cup

Prestige event marks start of the new jiu-jitsu calendar

Wadima Al Yafei (white) on her way to the first gold of the season. Courtesy UAEJJF
Wadima Al Yafei (white) on her way to the first gold of the season. Courtesy UAEJJF

One of the most prestigious team championships in the domestic calendar, the President’s Cup heralded the start of the new jiu-jitsu season.

The first round of the event saw competition for females for the first time in three categories – U16, U18 and adults – at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi.

Al Wahda topped the points table in both the adults and U16 divisions while Sharjah Self Defence Sports Club took an early lead in the U18 division ahead of Al Ain and Palms Sports 777.

“Women participation in jiu-jitsu has grown considerably in recent years, so it is right that they have the opportunity to test themselves and showcase their talents on a prestigious stage,” said Fahad Al Shamsi, general secretary of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation.

Al Ain's Wadima Al Yafei, the Emirati women’s international, was one of the stars of the opening competition of this season.

“Having women athletes participate in the President’s Cup, one of the most prestigious championships in the jiu-jitsu calendar, provides the perfect platform to enhance our skills against a strong competition,” she said.

“My teammates and I are doing our best to put Al Ain on the podium when the championship series concludes. I am glad I managed to win gold to give us a good start to the championship.”

Baniyas topped both the men’s and U18 divisions while Sharjah Self Defence Sports Club led the U16 division from Al Ain and Palms Sports 777.

Emirati international and Palms Sports 777 star Omar Al Fadhli made a perfect start to the season.

“I consider my participation in the competition a form of national duty, with the symbol this championship stands for,” Al Fadhli, 20, said.

“The championship brings out the best in me due to my strong desire to capture the victory.

“I was honoured to win today and help my team to have a better chance to be on the podium at the end of the championship series.

“Certainly, my participation at Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship last month gave me a great boost to improve my skills, with the opportunity to compete against the best talent in the world and learning new techniques.”

Commenting on the first round of the President Cup, Al Shamsi said the federation was delighted by the high-level of competition.

“The athletes know the importance of the championship for both the clubs and their careers,” he added.

“This year’s edition is special as we welcomed, for the first time, women across various categories. This step will surely help in boosting the skill levels of Emirati women on both the local and international events.”

Updated: May 24, 2021 05:10 PM

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