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 Camel Racing
 ( Published On Monday 21 November 2016, 21 Safar 1438, Time: 13:9)

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ArRiyadh City Web Site - Camel Racing


There is no language barrier in Camel Racing, everyone stands up and cheers.

Camel racing is one of the most intriguing sports in Saudi Arabia. Large numbers of camels racing across the desert expanse is a spectacular sight indeed.

Such racing is not merely a sporting event but a question of honor, and competition among camel owners is immense and camels are brought to the sporting ground from around the country.

In ArRiyadh at King Fahd International Stadium during winter months, regular camel races are organized. Winners do not walk home with a trophy but with gifts of camel or are raised to positions of camel race trainers. The winning camel is therefore worth thousands of riyals and also brings pride to the trainer and its owner.

A young rider on an Arabian Camel during the Riyadh Camel Races.

Above: It is amazing the young riders do not fall off.
Early Morning Training

Early Morning Training For Camel Racing, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

A Bedouin Tradition

Camel racing has been a traditional desert sport of Bedouin tribes for many centuries. In the past, the race would involve thousands of camels speeding across the open desert. Today the races are held at ArRiyadh Stadium on a large circular track.



Not 1 but 10 Races

Every February more than 2,000 Arabian Camels and their young riders compete in 10 races during Al Janadriyah Cultural Festival. One or two races are held each day for about a week. Saudi Arabia as governed by the Sharia law does not permit any kind of gambling, so there are no betting booths in the stadium. Between 20,000 and 30,000 spectators usually attend the races.

Camels are now specially raised for the track, using carefully controlled methods of breeding, training, and nutrition. Special artificial insemination and embryo transfer techniques are used for crossbreeding select lineages.

Camel racing has come to be recognized as a serious international sport and a great tourist attraction. Events draw participants from throughout the world. Moreover, such events reflect the cultural background of the local society. Traditional costumes and rituals are displayed, and the entire day of racing culminates in celebrations that evoke the customs of local peoples. These gatherings help keep local customs and folklore alive, particularly for the younger generation, in a region that is otherwise modernizing rapidly.

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