Dubai: Yemeni expatriate Reem Salem held her ground from start to finish to claim first place and the Dh100,000 cash prize in the 4th edition of the Camel Trek Marathon for UAE expats, organised by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC) yesterday.
A total of 24 camel riders from 18 countries, including UK, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Yemen, Luxembourg, China, France, Jordan, Brazil, the Philippines, Estonia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Italy, Germany, Iran and Pakistan, took part in the race held annually in conjunction with the Arabian Camel Festival under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
Participating riders previously took part in the annual Camel Trek organised by HHC to promote UAE’s cultural heritage, as well as the spirit of tolerance and camaraderie.
Salem finished the 2km camel race held at Dubai Camel Racing Club’s Al Marmoom Race Track in 3mins and 10.5 seconds and won the top prize of Dh100,000.
“The race was very intense from start to finish and I’m so happy to finish on top,” said Salem, adding: “I would like to thank HHC for organising this annual race and for training us to become excellent camel riders. The UAE is my second home and winning this heritage sport gives me immense pride and honour.”
Chinese national Xiaozhe Huo (nicknamed Alexis), who previously won the race, came at close second place with a time of 3mins and 11.5 seconds and received Dh70,000 cash prize. French expat Aude Derflinger claimed third place the Dh50,000a after finishing in 3mins and 14.5 seconds
Crowning of winners
Sheikh Mohammed bin Maktoum bin Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum crowned the winners, in the presence of HHC CEO Abdullah Hamdan Bin Dalmook, who expressed his happiness with the high number of participants and the diversity of nationalities in the annual camel race for expats.
Bin Dalmook also took note of HHC’s strong partnership with Dubai Camel Racing Club in holding the annual event and underlined HHC’s role in implementing the directives of Sheikh Hamdan in promoting Emirati heritage sports among expats in the UAE.