More than 7,500 entries from over 100 countries have signed up for the 2017 Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship in April, organisers.
The ninth staging of the event starting April 10 has been extended to 14 days and will see competitors vie for 360 gold medals and a slice of the Dh3 million prize fund.
Included in the program are three new categories over three full days; a para jiu-jitsu competition, one exclusively for the Armed Forces and Masters division 3 and 4 for competitors over the ages of 35 and 45.
“Starting from April 10 to 23, we will have a variety of activities both on the mat and off it,” Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, chief executive of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, said.
“On the mat we expect the level of the competition to be much higher than before and off it we will have a carnival atmosphere for the entire family to enjoy.
“The response last year when we extended the championship for over 10 days was overwhelming and we have planned our programme based on that success this time around.”
The Abu Dhabi World Pro has continued to grow in both stature and numbers. This year will see an increase of over 1,500 entries more than last year while the prize fund has been boosted by Dh500,000.
“This is the most high-profile by far from all the previous editions of the Abu Dhabi World Pro event,” Al Shamsi said.
“For example, since 2013 the numbers have grown on average 32 per cent year-on-year with an overall growth of 596 per cent. In the UAE, we now have over 250 Emiratis competing, which equates to annual growth of 44 per cent.
“We are proud to play a part in motivating aspiring jiu-jitsu players at local and international levels and we are committed to developing the sport across the Emirates.”
The World Pro, to be held at Zayed Sports City’s Ipic Arena, gets underway with a two-day championship for girls followed by a two-day event for boys.
The fifth day is for the para and disabled athletes and the next is exclusively for the Armed Forces. The Masters 3 and 4, and the Legends, followed by the Youth World Championship culminate with the World Pro over the final four days.