With the UAE jiu-jitsu first team preparing for the fifth Asian Beach Games in Vietnam in three weeks' time, the second stringers have been provided with the opportunity to compete at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in Los Angeles.
The UAE will be represented by an 11-member squad in a competition that has drawn nearly 1,000 entries from across the world at the LA Convention Centre on Saturday and Sunday.
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The UAE returned with a haul of eight gold, two silver and two bronze medals from the Grand Slam Los Angeles last year and would be hoping for a similar return this year despite travelling with a second-string team.
Abdulmunam Al Hashemi, chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, is confident of a good showing but said even if the medal tally is down on last year the experience gained by the UAE contingent would be invaluable.
“We are extremely proud of our national team who have put in extensive work and dedication to raise the bar of the local jiu-jitsu scene in a global arena,” he said.
“Today, the Grand Slam proves to be the most prestigious jiu-jitsu championship series in the world and is an ideal platform for the UAE team to evolve and secure a commendable position in the global ranking.
“We are confident that our national team will demonstrate a very high skill level and supreme professionalism underscoring Abu Dhabi’s aim to become the jiu-jitsu capital in the world.”
The first leg of the Grand Slam has a prize purse of over US$100,000 (Dh367,270). The black belt adult winners will also receive complimentary flight tickets to the Grand Slam Abu Dhabi in January 2017.
The winner in the respective weight categories of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam will receive 200 points with the runner up 160 and the third-place 120. The player with the highest ranking points at the end of the season will be the world No 1.
The UAE national team:
Adults Team (blue belt)
• Naser Al Braiki [69kg]
• Saeed Al Shamsi [69kg]
• Saif Al Qubaisi [77kg]
Juvenile team (blue belt)
• Mohammed Abdulla Al Darmaki [46kg]
• Hamad Mohammed Ali Nawad [50kg]
• Khaled Eskander [55kg]
• Omar Al Fadhli [55kg]
• Humaid Yasser Al Kaabi [66kg]
• Khalifa Saeed Hasan [50kg]
• Ahmed Bader Al Rajaibi [60kg]
• Ibrahim Al Hosani [69kg]
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