Mohammed bin Rashid Falconry Cup1-1675231740437
Falconry, known locally as Al Qanas, is one of the UAE’s cultural symbols Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The inaugural ‘Mohammed bin Rashid Falconry Cup’, organised by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC), kicked off to a strong start at Al Ruwayyah desert area in Dubai.

The falconry championship, named after the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will run till February 15. Over 250 falcons raced on Day 1 (January 30) of the tournament that will see more than 3,000 birds from 700 top local and regional falconers competing in the falconry championship with a total prize pool of over Dh23 million.

“Falconry [known locally as Al Qanas] is one of the UAE’s cultural symbols and the goal of the Mohammed bin Rashid Falconry Cup – formerly known as Fakhr Al Ajyal [Pride of Generations] Championship – is to preserve and promote the country’s authentic national heritage,” said Rashid Al Khasouni, HHC Director of Championships.

Day 1 results

On the first day, the race of Jeer Shaheen for the General Public category was announced. A draw was held and Emirati Hamad Al Kindi had the honour of being the first falconer to release his bird in the 400-metre race.

In the Farkh race (falcons under one year of age), Hamad bin Sheikh Majran Al Kindi came in first place with his bird ‘Muqnam’ that covered the 400-metre distance in 18.143 seconds. He was followed in second place by Al Shaaifi Muhammad Al Khaili’s falcon ‘Kahilan’ that clocked 18.409 seconds; while Mujran bin Al Sheikh Mujran Al Kindi came third with falcon ‘11’ in 18.557 seconds.

In the Jirnas race (falcons over one year old), Mubarak Salem Al Marar’s bird ‘Waqad’ came on top with 17.689 seconds, followed by Rashid Saeed Al-Mansouri’s ‘Abjar’ (17.982 seconds) and Hamad bin Sheikh Majran Al-Kindi’s ‘3119 Fox’ falcon in third spot with a time of 18.046 seconds.

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'Great enthusiasm'

Obaid bin Salem bin Shamma Al Ketbi, who has been participating in various falconry tournaments for many years, said the new name of the tournament has given it a “new feel and great enthusiasm for the participating falconers”. Fellow falconer Muhammad Khalfan also noted the importance falconry championship in providing opportunities for them to showcase their skills in UAE heritage sports.

There will be a total of 100 racing rounds, with 20 rounds for the Sheikhs category, 28 rounds for the Public category, 28 rounds for the Owners (breeders) category, 10 rounds for Farkh and Jirnas falcons, eight rounds for the Junior category, four rounds for Al Noukhba (Elite) category, and two rounds for the championship cup.

The first three finishers in the various categories will compete in Al Noukhba races that will take place on February 14, a day before the Championship cup in the Sheikhs and Open categories on February 15.