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Young falconers flying high at Fazza championship in Dubai.

Young Emirati falconers took centre stage at the Fazza Championship for Falconry Telwah. The contest is being organised and supervised by the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC) and taking place in the Al Ruwayya area in Dubai.

Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, the competition saw more than 400 local youngsters challenging across two sub-categories -- Tibah Wahash and Jeer Tibha.

An impressive turnout from the UAE falconers of tomorrow was warmly welcomed by the organisers of the event, which aims to maintain historically significant pastimes and pursuits associated with the UAE's heritage and its people.

"We are focused on preserving our culture at HHC and falconry is part of our heritage," said Mohammed Abdullah bin Dalmook, Director of Corporate Support at Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Centre.

"We want to increase the number of participants that raise, train and race falcons. In 2015, we had 120 falcons participating, whereas we have over 400 this year. It is amazing to see the juniors here and we are really happy that they are enjoying themselves. They undertook the serious part but -- once they released their falcons -- they ran around and they were cheering and enjoying themselves.

"However, there is also a serious element to it. There is high level of competition here and it is not the case that they release the falcons and do not care about the result because they really do."

Omar Al Maktoum, 12, who flew his falcon in tandem with his younger brother Abdullah, nine, said: "When I was just six years old, I went with my father to hunt [with falcons]. The more I went with him the more I enjoyed it and today it's a great feeling to be here to compete with my falcons."

Nine-year-old Marwan Ali Al Murikhy added: "I enjoy the sport and the fact that we can race against each other. My dad Ali and uncle Eisa first taught me to be a falconer and today I get the chance to show them what I've learned."

Nawaf Al Matrooshi, whose 11-year-old son Rashid competed in the event, said: "I'm very happy to see my son follow in my footsteps. We have to let them love the tradition, so that they get used to it and it stays with them and hopefully one day they pass it onto their children. My father introduced falconry to me when I was five years old and it's in the blood."

The action at the championship continues until tomorrow, with categories including live prey and tether-free flying.

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Jan 11, 2016
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