In an exciting press release from the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, the selection for the new US National Team was officially announced, naming a comprehensive list of the top American athletes that will be representing the US at the upcoming Abu Dhabi World Pro Championships taking place April 18-22, 2017.
Among the athletes selected are the likes of Mackenzie Dern, Keenan Cornelius, Gianni Grippo, Edwin Najmi, Tammi Musumeci, Isaac Doederlein and Manny Diaz.
The press release stated:
Following the example set by the National Olympic teams, the USJJA [US Jiu-Jitsu Association] will be sending an official delegation to support the athletes and represent their interests in the UAE, for the Abu Dhabi Pro. USJJA President, Rodrigo Clark, and Vice President Gustavo Mugiatti will be in Abu Dhabi to assure the athletes with all the assistance they need while away from home. The USJJA is proud to be the first organization in the U.S. to embrace the idea of a National Team, and will provide strong support for U.S. athletes competing at the World Championships in Abu Dhabi, as these athletes fight for the gold medals in each belt ranking. Currently the United States ranks #2 among 115 countries according to UAEJJF WORLD RANKINGS.
The press release also announced that major gi brand Storm Kimonos would be officially sponsoring the US National Team with uniforms and gear, which at first impression seemed like very positive news, but quickly turned to confusion on social media, as members of the jiu-jitsu community assumed this would mean the athletes in the delegation would be prohibited from using uniforms and gear from their respective sponsors at the World Pro. This confusion was quickly cleared up by USJJA President, Rodrigo Clark in a follow-up statement, in which he explained that this sponsorship deal does not impose any restrictions on what uniforms these athletes wear at the World Pro, rather it merely provides them each a gear kit to recognize their efforts as the top US jiu-jitsu athletes and celebrates their selection for the first ever National Team.
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