Dubai: Riders showed good form during the preliminary camel races organised by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC) recently in Al Marmoum, ahead of the 51st UAE National Day celebration next month.
Separate races were held for Emiratis and expats. The UAE nationals took part in the National Day Camel Marathon that had three different age groups and another category for women; while 22 expats from 15 countries participated in the annual Camel Trek Marathon.
Young Emirati Hamda Mohammed Abdullah Hamdan dominated the female category in the 1 to 19 years old group for UAE nationals, while 14-year-old German student Emilia Piesker grabbed first place in the Camel Trek Marathon for expats.
The camel race was aimed at promoting the UAE’s cultural heritage, and held annually under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council.
Ali Matar bin Dahroui Al Amri won first place in the 4km race for those 19 years old and below with a time of six minutes and 59.04 seconds. He was followed by Hamdan Farhan Ali Musleh Al Ahbabi, who finished in seven minutes and 91 seconds.
In the 20 to 29 years old category, Salem Hamad Saeed Al-Malhouf Al Ketbi finished the 4km distance in six minutes and 53.11 seconds to finish first place. He was followed by Ahmed Abdullah Muhammad bin Al Muharrami with a time of seven minutes and 14.31 seconds, while Suhail Muhammad Suhail Al Hamiri came third with a time seven minutes and 17.66 seconds.
In the 30 years old and above category, Khaled Ali Saif Al Nuaimi grabbed the top spot with a time of seven minutes and 9.37 seconds, while Yahya Ali Saeed Al Malayi came in close second place with a time of seven minutes and 15.28 seconds, and Khamis Ali Saeed Al Mallai finished third in seven minutes and 18.21 seconds.
Piesker finished the 1,500m camel race for expats in one minute and 55.78 seconds. She was closely followed by Rawan from Jordan, who finished the race with a time of one minute and 55.81 seconds; while third place went to Chinese national Alexis (Xiaozhe Huo), who finished in one minute and 58.75 seconds.
The camel race for expats saw 22 participants from 15 nationalities residing in the UAE, who came from Germany, Jordan, China, Saudi Arabia, France, Estonia, America, Czech Republic, Russia, Brazil, Iran, Yemen, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg. They were trained by the HHC in the past months on camel riding and had previously participated in the camel treks organised by HHC.
Abdullah Hamdan bin Dalmook, CEO of HHC, expressed his happiness with the high number of participants and the diversity of nationalities in the annual camel race for expats. He also underlined the HHC’s role in promoting UAE heritage sports and “spreading peace and tolerance among the different people and cultures”.
German mother Pauline Piesker, who also participated in the race, expressed her pride for her daughter Emilia. She said: “Our participation last year in the camel ride earned us a lot of experience and skills.”
“I work as a teacher, and I must say that participating in annual heritage sport shows you an aspect that gives you a complete picture of Dubai,” she added.