WATCH: Welcome to Qatar - the Camel Racing edition

By QL Videos

Camel racing is known as the sport of the sheikhs, and in Qatar it is practiced at a popular racetrack in the small town of Al Shahaniya, about an hour’s drive north of Doha. It’s one of the most expensive sporting events in the country.

Camel racing is a popular sport in the MENA region, Pakistan, Mongolia and even Australia.

Like horse racing, professional camel racing can be a major tourist attraction. 

Al-Shahaniya racing track holds domestic and international tournaments on Fridays in the cooler months, from November to February.

Professional Camel racing began in Qatar in 1972, though the traditional sport has been around much longer.

Traditionally, camels were ridden by child jockeys, but were banned due to human rights abuse allegations. In Qatar today, camels are controlled by remote controlled robotic whips during the races.

The robot jockeys weigh around 25 kilograms and right now it costs about five and a half thousand dollars.

The operator can remotely apply the whip antenna and command the electronic jockey to 'pull' on the reins, or verbally urge the camel through the jockey’s built in speaker. The camels can run as fast as 40 miles per hour in short sprints.

The races are definitely a unique sight to behold, and something you should definitely witness at least once if you’re living in Qatar or just visiting.

 

 
Cover image credit: StellarD/Wikipedia 

Ratings calculated automatically using technology developed at QCRI and MIT.

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