Over the last few months, several sports ceased operations as a result of the coronavirus. Gyms and fight camps paused activity, and many athletes had to find ways to stay active. Now, as a result of measures taken by the United Arab Emirates Jiu-Jitsu Federation, the national UAE team feels as refreshed as ever.
Abu Dhabi held a three-week training camp for over 60 jiu-jitsu fighters. Taking place inside the Armed Forces Officers Club and Hotel, it was closed off to fans and non-competitors. While there, the team went through courses that helped regain strength, confidence, and the ability to think on their feet.
“Getting back to doing what I love doing the most, what I have done for most of my life, was a really special experience. It brought me peace of mind,” four-time Jui-Jitsu World Champion Faisal Al Ketbi, stated to Gulf News. All of us were training at home before the camp but coming together as a group, inspiring each other to constantly better ourselves, was incredibly special.
“This camp was quite different, and it came with a lot of lessons. It wasn’t just about preparing ourselves on the mat. There were challenges, limitations, but also the sense that we had to push ourselves, individually, and as a group. The federation has shown a lot of trust in us by organizing this camp and everyone felt from within that we had to repay this faith by working a little harder,” Al Ketbi stressed.
Planning for this took some time to prepare for. Back in early May, talks intensified regarding the camps. By working with health authorities, the team was able to utilize safety measures, including social distancing guidelines and wipedowns. According to John Hopkins University, there are over 36,359 cases of the coronavirus in the UAE, with only 270 deaths. Being careful, the team was able to get their goals accomplished.
Not only did the athletes have to deal with COVID-19, but training was going on during Ramadan. Adjustments were made to comply with the needs of the athletes. There were light and tense sessions during various points of the day.
“The UAEJJF helped adjust our training schedules so that everyone benefitted. The training camp also took into consideration that some of us have schoolwork to finish and we were able to continue to stay on top of things through our e-learning sessions,” 2019 World Youth Championship bronze medallist, Salem Mubarak Zayed went on to say.
Trainers and coaches were able to keep an eye on the development of each athlete, and now have an idea of where they are at for future competitions. The team will continue to prepare for the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, now scheduled to take place in November.