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The top three winners in the camel race, with officials. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The third edition of the annual UAE ‘Camel Trek Marathon for Expats’, organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC), concluded on a high note with expatriate women claiming the top three positions. Chinese rider Xiaozhe Huo finished in first place, followed by Laura Ezzat from Estoni and German national Gesa Eggeling in third spot.

Huo, who was ahead of the pack of 21 camel riders — men and women of various ages and capabilities, representing 16 countries — bagged the Dh100,000 cash prize for the first place while Ezzat and Eggeling received Dh70,000 and Dh50,000, respectively.

The camel race for expats, aimed at promoting UAE’s cultural heritage, was held in conjunction with the Arabian Camel Festival, under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, at the Dubai Camel Racing Club’s Al Marmoom Race Track.

Men and women of various ages and capabilities, representing 16 countries, participated in the camel race. Image Credit: Supplied

Love for camels

Xiaozhe said her participation a couple years ago in the camel trek, also organised by HHC, deepened her love for camels. She has continuously developed her skills in camel riding and racing. She said: “The race in general was not easy, but we also had preliminary races that further honed our skills. I really focused on it this year to win the first place, after I achieved a third-place fish in the previous edition. I am very happy with this great achievement and I look forward to returning again next year.”

Strong participation

“The race was full of excitement, given the large number of participants from various countries who have mastered the skill of camel riding, after being trained by the HHC for their participation in the annual UAE Camel Trek,” noted HHC CEO Abdullah Hamdan Bin Dalmook

A total of 21 expats from 16 countries took part in the race, including those from China, Estonia, Germany, United States, Algeria, India, South Korea, Czech Republic, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Italy, France, Iran, the Philippines, Spain and Belgium.

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The camel race participants also took part in the recent editions of Camel Trek, an annual desert voyage that took them navigating more than 500km of UAE desert and living the life of Bedouins.

During the awarding ceremony, Bin Dalmook underlined HHC’s role in implementing the directives of Sheikh Hamdan and “the government’s vision in promoting heritage sports within the framework of spreading peace and tolerance among the different people and cultures of the world”.