Camels have played a significant role in UAE’s history and heritage. They were used extensively as means of transportation, currency and livelihood. It is said to have been a favorite past time to race the camels in the desert.
Today camel racing has become a major sport in UAE and attracts participants from neighbouring countries as well.As the temperature starts to cool off in September the racing season comes to a start and goes on until April.
Though there are so many race tracks in UAE, the Dubai Camel Racing Club is one of the places where the major action happens. Tucked away on the Dubai – Al Ain road , just after the Seven’s stadium is the massive Al Marmoom Race Track.
Races are held during the weekends and starts from 0700 hrs to about 1100 hrs. There is an afternoon session that starts at 1400 hrs.
It was my first visit to a camel race, though not a fan of camel races, I was more interested in capturing the action on my camera. Convinced my friend Asok to give me company and we set off early in the morning so that we could be at the venue when the lights were in favor.
The race course is teeming with activities from 0600 hours as herds of camels are herded from the stables to the race course.
Now it is time for action the camels are herded to the start point….
The camels are dressed and draped in colorful robes and are raring to go. One of the key improvements in the sport is the use of robotic jockeys. As the gates are opened, the camels that were patiently waiting spring to life and the scene is that of an immediate chaos.
The camel owner’s follow the camels on their 4 X 4 and controlling them via the jockeys. The camels disappear into the dirt track and then it is a good 15 minutes or so before they re appear at the other end of the track. Luckily the finishing point is not far and you can be in position to catch the finish.
Here they start to come
The camels are received at the finish line and then taken back to the stables. Medical test is carried out to ensure that no banned substances have been used and the winner is announced only after that.
Now it is time to go back to the stables and prepare for the next one.
Now that I have got the hang of things, I am sure to return a couple of more times, so that I can try to take better pictures