Brazil’s President Bolsonaro visits jiu jitsu tournament in Abu Dhabi

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The President of Brazil visited a jiu jitsu tournament in Abu Dhabi as the United Arab Emirates set a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest jiu jitsu lesson involving 2,700 athletes on Monday.

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President Jair Bolsonaro attended day two of the world-renowned Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (ADWPJJC), touring the arena with jiu jitsu legend Renzo Gracie, the official WAM news agency reported.

Bolsonaro also met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed at Al Shati Palace. The Brazilian leader congratulated the Crown Prince on the UAE’s successful bid for the COP28 climate summit.

The record-breaking training sessions took place simultaneously at 14 different sites across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and al-Ain, including one at the Brazil pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

“It was a real honor for us to welcome President Bolsonaro to the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship,” Abdel Moneim al-Hashemi, First Vice President of the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation, said in a statement.

“His presence shows just how much the sport is growing, here in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, and it gives the athletes a real lift to see such high-profile interest in the event.”

Abu Dhabi has long fostered the sport, which was invented in Japan but developed into its modern form in Brazil and popularized by the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) tournament in 1993.

Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi was an early adopter of the sport and founded the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) in 1998.

His enthusiasm for the fledgling sport led to a state-funded jiu jitsu program in the UAE that hires top-level black belts from Brazil to teach in schools and military academies across the country.

More than 600 Brazilian coaches run jiu jitsu schools in the country, according to The Guardian.

Renzo Gracie, one of most recognizable names in the sport, praised the tournament organizers.

“Here, Jiu-Jitsu is everything, and to be here is a real honor,” he said. “This is the best competition I have seen in my life, and the event gets better every year… The organizers are doing a beautiful job.”

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