• SarahThackray

Abu Dhabi Recap

Updated: Jan 16, 2019

I just got back from the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam- my first tournament of 2019! It was an incredible experience, and I am so glad I made the decision to go.

I found out a few days before leaving that one of my best friends, Whitney, had booked a vacation to Abu Dhabi at the same time and had come to watch me compete! Unfortunately the trip was pretty short so we didn't have a ton of time to be tourists, but we managed to get the most out of our time there.

On Thursday morning we went to my favourite cafe/restaurant called the Steroid Cafe. Its a pretty crazy place, with everything on the menu guaranteed to help you make gains! We had a delicious breakfast and then went next door to do a workout. The Steroid Cafe is attached to the most high level Crossfit gym in the UAE so we had to check it out! I just did a normal full body workout, but it was really inspiring to watch the elite Crossfit athletes do some of their exercises.

Our next stop was Corniche Beach! It had a beautiful seawall, food trucks, an outdoor gym, and lots of games and activities on the beach for families. It is also home to the largest floating playground in the country!

After checking out the beach we drove to The Emirates Palace. It was a very extravagant experience. The entrance to the palace was lined with beautiful fountains and manicured lawns. We headed inside and had tea at the famous Emirates Cafe. Whitney ordered camel's milk ice cream topped with real gold foil and flakes! I sadly just had some plain tea since I had to weigh in later that day and didn't want to risk it. After the weigh ins on Thursday evening we visited the World Trade Centre mall.

I was still very jet lagged from the the flight and didn't sleep for even a minute the night before the tournament. Despite this I felt prepared and excited for the fights that day! I ended up winning my division and didn't have any points scored on me. I was really happy with the result and satisfied to be able to apply some of my favourite techniques and submissions that I've been practicing!

A concept that my coaches have reinforced in me is that you always need to keep the fight progressing forward and never back track. For example, if you pass the guard, you have three options from there: 1. submit from side control, 2. advance to the back or mount, or 3. maintain side control for the rest of the fight. Getting put back in the guard is just not an option. I took the back of my opponents in every match and I stuck to this mentality. No back tracking. The only option was to keep the back control and attack the submission relentlessly.

I flew home late that night and after a very long couple of flights I'm back in Vancouver! I'm feeling more motivated than ever to keep pushing forward and improving for the next tournaments. I couldn't have asked for a better start to the year!

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