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A letter from His Excellency Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu

PARA JIU-JITSU CHAMPIONSHIP IS ABU DHABI’S “IMMEASUREABLE GIFT TO THE WORLD”
Ronald Mann, Ambassador of the United States Para Jiu-Jitsu Federation praises the UAE capital for creating a para jiu-jitsu legacy for future generations
“Every sport needs its heroes,” says His Excellency Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, Acting Executive Director of Education Affairs Sector

Abu Dhabi, UAE – April 21, 2019: The third annual Para Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2019 has handed an “immeasurable gift” to the global para jiu-jitsu community, according to American hero Ronald Mann, who claimed the silver medal in this year’s ‘Class A – Lower Limb Amputee’ category on Saturday, April 20.
Mann, an Ambassador of the United States Para Jiu-Jitsu Federation - an entity created by the Abu Dhabi-based Jiu-Jitsu International Federation (JJIF) and the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) to help grow para jiu-jitsu around the world - praised the UAE capital for establishing the Para Jiu-Jitsu Championship and creating a legacy for future generations.
“As the global home of jiu-jitsu, Abu Dhabi’s progressive, inclusive mission to grow the sport led to the formation of the Para Jiu-Jitsu Championship, a competition that has proven to be an immeasurable gift to the world,” said Mann, whose left leg was amputated below the knee following a motorcycle crash in 1995.
Mann, from Michigan, flatlined twice during a helicopter evacuation from the crash site and still recalls his last instructions to paramedics: “I said, ‘if you can’t save the leg, don’t save me’ – how wrong I was.”
With a passion for jiu-jitsu helping to aid Mann’s physical and mental recovery following the near-fatal crash, the U.S. Military veteran embarked on a two-decade quest to address the unequal representation of para versus able-bodied athletes within the sport.
The breakthrough came when Mann defeated an opponent by arm bar within 23 seconds at the inaugural Para Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship in 2017. That one submission gained Mann’s mission global attention and put his name front and centre in the hearts, minds and corridors of the influential UAEJJF.
The result was the formation of the Para Jiu-Jitsu Championship in 2017 - the world’s first major international jiu-jitsu event to cater for athletes with a range of disabilities. With the debut event attracting 35 participants, entries almost doubled to 60 in 2018. This year’s multi-category showpiece welcomed 100 athletes from six continents.
“People recognise that the Para Jiu-Jitsu Championship is not just for us, personally, as athletes. It’s not about money, medals or gold. This competition is a gift for the next generation because every time we fight, we build the sport, and that shows the next generation of para athletes it’s safe for them to come into jiu-jitsu,” said Mann, adding: “The UAEJJF is leading this drive globally. The Federation has given us a gift to compete equally and on level terms.”
With para jiu-jitsu competitions now held across the global Abu Dhabi Grand Slam series supported by the UAEJJF, the 2019 jiu-jitsu calendar’s season finale at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship boasted 18 dedicated categories for masters and juvenile competitors with a range of mobility levels, physical disabilities and mental conditions, including full or partial blindness, impaired muscle power, limb amputations or deficiency, leg length difference, hearing impairment, intellectual impairment and autism, amongst others.
“We’ve created 18 categories to make it safe and fair for all competitors,” said Mann, who competes in para and conventional jiu-jitsu categories. “I can fight an able-bodied person and win because I have a simple amputation, but someone who has cerebral palsy or something like that has a totally different mobility level and it wouldn’t be a fair fight.
“The Para Jiu-Jitsu Championship includes classifications that allow fair fights for all levels – it really is an amazing thing and the world has Abu Dhabi to thank for it. For a long time, I didn’t know if I could continue to live life broken. With jiu-jitsu, I am whole again. And now, with the help of the UAEJJF, we are equal,” adds Mann.
After collaborating with the three-time Para Jiu-Jitsu world champion for the last two years, officials from the UAEJJF were effusive of Mann’s potential to be a role model for the next generation of para jiu-jitsu athletes.
“Ronald’s inspirational story of struggle, resilience and determination resonates with many of the para athletes competing in the sport all around the world. Every sport needs its heroes and para jiu-jitsu is extremely fortunate to have Ronald as its ambassador and champion,” said His Excellency Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, Acting Executive Director of Education Affairs Sector.
The ADWPJJC 2019 runs at Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sport City until 26 April under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
For more information, visit www.uaejjf.com
ENDS

Notes to Editors - ADWPJJC 2019:
• Venue: Mubadala Arena, Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
• Dates: 20 Saturday – 26 Friday, April 2019
• Entry: FREE
• Parking: Spaces available
• More info: To learn more about ADWPJJC 2019 and stay up-to-date with the tournament programme, visit https://www.uaejjf.com

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