JJIF World Championship in Abu Dhabi the first to host senior and youth events at same time

Abu Dhabi has the ability to host both events together,' the JJIF president Panagiotis Theodoropoulos said

The Jiu-Jitsu International Federation (JJIF) World Championship in Abu Dhabi will be first in the tournament’s history to host the senior and youth competitions at the same venue at the same time.

The November 15-24 competition was officially confirmed at a press conference at the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation headquarters on Monday.

Previously, the two JJIF World Championship events were held at two different venues across different dates.

“Abu Dhabi has the infrastructure, organisational acumen and ability to host both events together,” the JJIF president Panagiotis Theodoropoulos.

“This event serves as a trial and we will see if other hosting nations can match Abu Dhabi when we plan the next event.

“Combining both takes more competition days and involves a bigger cost, and not many countries can match that. But we are still open for new ideas and suggestions on the development of the sport around the world.”

Originally a biennial tournament, the 30-year-old JJIF World Championship moved to an annual event 12 years ago when Theodoropoulos took over as president.

“At the beginning, the majority of the JJIF members were from Europe and they preferred to have the world and continental championship across two years,” he said.

“The sport has now grown over the last decade with more and more countries joining as members and the overwhelming demand from athletes to compete at the top flight.”

Abu Dhabi staged the youth JJIF World Championship two years ago, and will this year host the senior competition – combined with the youth event – for the first time.

“This time it’s bigger because of the youth, adult, masters’ categories with more than 1,500 fighters from over 60 countries expected,” Theodoropoulos said.

Abdulmunam Al Hashemi, chairman of UAEJJF, said hosting the JJIF World Championship is another milestone for the Abu Dhabi jiu-jitsu scene.

“We have been hosting the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship for the past 11 years, and it draws the largest player-participation, which in terms of numbers are restricted to 10,000,” he said.

“On top of it, we have the Abu Dhabi World Tour comprising of six Grand Slam events across six different cities (Tokyo, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Abu Dhabi, Moscow and London).

“And hosting the youth and adult worlds combined for the first time in the history of the JJIF is another milestone for Abu Dhabi, popularly known as the jiu-jitsu capital of the world.”

Last year, Omar Al Fadhli, 19, achieved a personal milestone by becoming the first Emirati to win a gold at the JJIF World Championship following his victory over Nurzhan Seiduali of Kazakhstan in the 56-kilogram final in Poland.