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A tournament to reflect love for Bedouin sport.

Summary: During races, the falcons are lured using bait of pigeon wings and timed over a distance of 400 metres, with the best clocking around 20 seconds.

Angel Tesorero

Falconry - the ancient art of taking wild quarry with a trained bird of prey - is a traditional custom in the UAE. (File photo)

Around 800 Emiratis of various ages are expected to compete in the second edition of the Rashid Bin Humaid Falconry Championship, a heritage sport that reflects the culture of the UAE, on January 27, in Ajman's Al Helio area.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ajman, and in cooperation with Dubai's Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC), the annual event "reflects the vision of reinforcing the national identity with something very Emirati which is falconry," the organisers said at a Press conference in Ajman on Monday.

Falconry - the ancient art of taking wild quarry with a trained bird of prey - is a traditional and highly valued custom in the UAE. During races, the falcons are lured using bait of pigeon wings and timed over a distance of 400 metres, with the best clocking around 20 seconds.

"This (falconry) tournament is a significant social and cultural event that is closely related to the intangible heritage of the UAE and the region," said Ahmed Rashid Al Shamsi, chairman of the organising committee.

"We invite the falconers to participate in the tournament. We also invite the fans to attend and follow the competitions. Last year's inaugural tournament was hugely popular among both the residents and tourists who wanted to know about this sport," he added.

"We doubled our efforts to upgrade this tournament to underline the importance of falconry to the youth sector by harnessing their energies to learn the skills and be proud of this heritage sport," Al Shamsi underlined.

For her part, Suad Ibrahim Darwish, director of championships at HHC, said: "We want to ensure a successful championship at all levels in order to revive and preserve the intangible cultural heritage of the UAE."

Last year, around 400 falconers participated in the first edition of the Rashid Bin Humaid Falconry Championship. Organisers said they are expecting the number to double this year, especially after they introduced a new catergory - Wahish Rabi - dedicated for young falconers 13 years and below.

Big prizes are at stake in the five categories: Pure Jeer, Jeer Tabaa, Jeer Shaheen and Qarmoosha Jeer (Adults) and Wahish Rabi (Juniors). First placers in each of the five categories will get Dh50,000; second placers, Dh40,000 and third placers, Dh30,000. Those who will land in the fifth to 10th places will receive Dh5,000 each.

The organising committee said registration is open from January 23 to 26 through the RBHFC website (www.rrr.ae) or by calling 056-5028333. The competition can also be followed on social media (@rrrfalconry).

angel@khaleeejtimes.com

Angel Tesorero

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Jan 22, 2018
Words:507
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