UAE jiu-jitsu athletes arrive in US to compete in World Games 2022

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The UAE jiu-jitsu team has arrived in the US to compete in the World Games competition, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported on Wednesday.

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The World Games is an international multi-sports events held every four years, with the 2022 event taking place in Birmingham, Alabama, between July 7 and 17. Around 3,600 athletes are taking part in the games from 100 countries, in more than 30 sports.

“The [UAE Jiu-Jitsu] Federation and the technical staff have complete faith in the national team's players,” Ramon Lemos, head coach of the UAE team, told WAM.

“Each [competitor] has the skills necessary to outperform the finest players from across the world,” Lemos added. “Helping our athletes maintain optimum energy and a balanced state of mind so they can perform at their best is arguably our top priority.”

A total of five athletes from the UAE qualified for the games and are hoping to build on the success of the 2017 games in Poland’s capital city Warsaw, when UAE’s Faisal al-Ketbi won Gold in the under-94kg category.

Al-Ketbi is competing this year in the 85kg category alongside Muhammad al-Amri, Muhammad al-Suwaidi, Shamma al-Kalbani and Balqees Abdelkareem who are all participating in separate weight categories, WAM said.

The team is currently starting a training regime in preparation for beginning competing on July 15, according to WAM.

Abu Dhabi has long fostered the sport, which was originally 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 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.

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