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Kuwait holds annual camel race as sport regains regional traction

Camel racing is popular throughout the region, even as other sports grow.
Race camels resting before a race in Qatar.

As Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates pursue their ambitions in soccer, golf and tennis, Kuwait remains committed to a more traditional sport: camel racing.

The annual Kuwait International Camel Race championship will kick off on Saturday at the Sheikh Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah racetrack in Al Abdaliyah, southeast of Kuwait City. The event is an 82-course racing tournament that lasts for six days. Awards for the winners include trophies, engraved swords and daggers and cash. The races are organized by the Kuwait Camel Racing Club, the official Kuwait News Agency reported.

This year marks the 22nd edition of the races, though organized camel racing dates back to previous century.

Kuwait’s camel racing season begins in September and lasts seven months. The Kuwait Camel Racing Club did not mention the anticipated number of competitors and attendees for this year’s championship but said jockeys from Kuwait and other Gulf countries will participate. A September race at the same track had more than 300 participants, according to the agency.

Camel racing is popular throughout the region. In 2022, camel racing returned to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt after a 14-year hiatus due to security concerns.

Agence France-Presse reported the same year that Qatari camel jockeys hoped the 2022 FIFA World Cup would boost camel racing in the country.