The United Arab Emirates' long-term investment into the development of jiu-jitsu in the country is paying off.
The Arab nation, which hosted the Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship this week, introduced jiu-jitsu into its school curriculum nearly nine years ago, with every child in the country participating in the martial art. Alongside this directive, the United Arab Emirates jiu-jitsu team (UAEJJ) has been working with promising talents in order to develop a national squad of athletes.
In 2015, the UAEJJ team hired Roberto "Gordo" Correa and Ramon Lemos to act as its coaches. Since moving to the UAE, the duo has worked firsthand with the local athletes in an effort to strengthen their technical and strategic skills.
Lemos is responsible for working with athletes under the age of 18, while Correa focuses on adult competitors.
Lemos is based in Al-Ain, a city about 100 miles east of Abu Dhabi, where Correa is based. Together, they have been responsible for overseeing the development of the national team.
The results speak for themselves.
Khalifa Humaid Alkaabi of the UAEJJ team chokes Christian Lara of Brazil. Photo: Chase Smith / FloGrappling
In the male juvenile categories this week in Abu Dhabi, most division finals were contested between Emirati citizens. The technical abilities on display were on a par with those you would expect to see from blue belts of the same age and level anywhere else in the world.
Notably, standout 60kg juvenile blue belt Khalifa Humaid Alkaabi beat Christian Lara of Brazil. The 17-year-old UAEJJ team member received rapturous applause from the local audience for his gold medal-winning performance.
Watch Khalifa Humaid Alkaabi (UAE) vs Christian Lara (Brazil)
How to Watch the Abu Dhabi 2017 World Professional Jiu-Jitsu ChampionshipOn TV: Now available on Roku and Apple TV 4 -- download the FloSports app today.
STREAMING: Available only on FloGrappling via monthly or yearly memberships. A yearly FloPRO subscription provides access to ALL FloSports sites. SIGN UP HERE
||Rio de Janeiro
Join The Conversation On Social• Follow us on Twitter @FloGrappling
• Follow us on Instagram @FloGrappling
• Follow us on Facebook