Camel racing sport of sheiks

camel racing sport of sheiksAll about arab camel racing  sport of sheiks and its history. You’ve probably heard that camel racing is one of the most popular sports in Arab countries. This sport is considered exclusively traditional (folk) and, along with falconry, rich sheiks and “oil billionaires” from the Middle East are very fond of it. From an early age, all residents of Arab countries know a simple truth – camel racing is a sport of sheiks.

Robot camel jockeys

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Camel races in Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Oman gather spectators from all corners of these sandy countries. In this article, we will talk about how this sport developed in Arab countries and how the traditional conservatism of sheiks gets along with modern technologies in the form of automated robot camel jockeys.

How did it all start?

The first camel races took place in the Emirates in 1964. The competitions were organized at the suggestion of the King of Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the monarch decided to initiate dromedary races instead of Arab horses out of love for a one-humped camel, and not for the sake of laughter.

Camel racing  sport of sheiks

In such an original way, the king wanted to save the dromedaries who lived in the desert. Many were skeptical of this idea at the time. Who would have thought that after almost 60 years, the phrase camel racing is a sport of sheiks will not surprise anyone anymore?

Camel racing

Camel racing: simple sports or a question of survival of unique animals? Camels were once incredibly useful in the Bedouin household and as a means of transportation, and the nomads valued them very much. But in the 20th century, with the construction of good roads and the ubiquity of jeeps, “desert ships” lost their former importance to the locals. Keeping these animals has become expensive and impractical. Therefore, nomads began to leave camels in the desert on a free-range.

Camel jockey robots

However, by the 20th century, only artificially bred dromedaries remained in the Middle East. They have lived next to people for generations and completely forgot about survival skills in the wild – these domesticated animals were unable to exist independently in difficult natural conditions. Because the Saudi king came up with the idea of using them for sports competitions  (  camel jockey robots).

Camel jockey

Moral and ethical problems of camel competitions

In the middle of the last century, the role of camel jockey was performed by underage children, driving animals to victory with the help of whips. For the sake of this business, they even started stealing children from poor countries. About 4,000 children from South Asia were abducted or sold by their families to become camel racing jockeys.

All this, of course, has not been ignored by human rights organizations and the international community. Charities have begun reuniting children with their families, offering shelter and food until they can return home.

Camel racing robot

The decline in the prestige of the national sport did not fit in with the slogan “camel racing is a sport of sheiks” and the authorities of Arab countries reacted very quickly to the outrage of human rights activists. The very first were the United Arab Emirates, which at the beginning of the 21st century issued a law prohibiting children under 16 from participating in camel races and began using camel racing robot instead of unhappy children. Sometime later, the rest of the Arab world followed suit.

Robot jockey camel racing

When was the debut of robot jockey camel racing?  The first international competitions based entirely on the new technology were held in 2004 at the Al-Shahaniyya Arena in Doha (Qatar). It was here at the Emir Sheikh Hamad Al Thani Cup that the audience first saw robot jockey riders made by the Swiss company K-team in the role.

Robot jockey

Twelve robots were able to stay on the humps of the “desert ships” until the end of the race – unlike the boy drivers, among whom there are frequent cases of injuries and death in a fall! Since then, a robot jockey on the back of a camel will not surprise anyone.

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