This sport competition is celebrating athletes with special needs

Combatants with disabilities will hit the mat for this year’s edition of a much-anticipated jiu-jitsu tournament.

Making its debut at the annual Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship happening next month will be the Para Jiu-Jitsu category, featuring participants with special needs.

This latest addition is in line with 2017 being the Year of Giving in the UAE, which urges private and public sectors to give back to the community.

“More than a hundred players with special needs, not just here, but from countries including Brazil, Canada and America will be participating for this unique event,” Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, CEO of UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, told Abu Dhabi World.

“We want to prove that even people with limitations can take up the sport and be successful. These athletes can serve as inspiration to many people, and we want to show their talents too,” added Farhad.

Now in its ninth edition, the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship has reinforced the city’s growing fascination with the sport since its inception.

The tournament, scheduled for 10th-23rd April at IPIC Arena in Zayed Sports City, will welcome thousands of participants from over 100 countries, with a AED 3 million total prize pot at stake.

The sport has long been a popular activity in the UAE and the country has even gone as far as naming it as the national sport.

Jiu-jitsu has been integrated into school programmes as directed by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) since 2008, which only added to its rising popularity at local level.

“Schools certainly helped a lot in developing interest for the sport. We believe in starting potential athletes young, and school programmes allow us to identify and pick good fighters both for the present and future,” said Al Shamsi.


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