Camel racing as a sport is immensely popular in countries like Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Australia, Oman etc. As the name suggests, the sports require the jockeys to ride their camels to the finish line. Sitting astride a camel, maneuvering the terrain camel racing is a sport to watch as well as play. While you may be familiar with camel racing as a whole, here is five things you did not know about camel racing.
Came racing took birth in the Arab Peninsula where it can be dated back to early Islamic period. In the 20th century, the sport took professional forms when several sponsors started organizing it at competitive level. Although horse riding was a favorite, camel racing gained popularity among the locals and today it is an incredible cultural peculiarity of various countries.
Camel racing uses a lot of children jockeys as they are lighter thus giving them advantage in the race. The sport garnered a bit of controversy when underage children were being used as jockeys. The sport used trafficked children which caused quite a stir at the international level.
The United Arab Emirates was the first country to set an age limit to 15 for child jockeys. The ban took effect in the year 2002 where a lot of people found guilty were punished in addition to jockey being compensated.
The camels used for racing are specially bred for the purpose. They are trained as well as reared so as to fight a competitive sport at immaculate professional level. Depending on the size, weight and adaptation of camels, the distance for the race is decided. This distance can range anywhere between 2.5 to 6 miles.
Camel racing besides being a sport, also marks the celebration of cultures and traditions. Given the age of the sport, it is apparent that various cultures see it more than a sport. Hence, when the races are organized, various cultural souvenirs as well as tradition markers are also displayed.
All in all, camel racing has broken myths and misconceptions over time in the field of animal sports. It is not only exhilarating to play but most of the camel races have nail biting finishes. Camel racing is a marriage of sports and culture and it is only fascinating to watch of how the different countries have spun their own magic on it to make it their own. It is definitely one of the sports that I’d like to try, what about you? Don’t hesitate and add something so exciting to your bucket list!