Events & Happenings, Offbeat

Female Saudi Camel Owner Off to the Races for First Time at King Abdulaziz Camel Festival

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Princess Jamila bint Abdulmajeed bin Saud bin Abdulaziz’s stable to take part in the final camel competition of the six-week festival.


Princess Sirene bint Abdul Rahman bin Khalid al-Saud’s stable became the first owned by a woman to win category in last month’s camel pageant.ico-pic-7-starting-from-the-right-5th-member-icos-new-chairman-shaikh-fahd-bin-falah-bin-hethlen

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, 23 March 2019 – Princess Jamila bint Abdulmajeed bin Saud bin Abdulaziz will be the first female camel owner to see one of her camels compete in the final camel race of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Camel Festival on Saturday, entering the history books as the first woman to do so.ico-pic-6

This follows a similar “first” that took place last month at the Festival when Saudi Princess Sirene bint Abdul Rahman bin Khalid al-Saud became the first female camel owner to win a blue ribbon in the Festival’s camel beauty pageant, winning the solo “Al-Dig “category for camels under 4 years old.ico-pic-4-shaikh-fahd-bin-falah-bin-hethlen-icos-new-chairman

Prizes for pageant winners alone amounted to SAR88 million and millions more will be up for grabs as the camel races come to a close on Saturday.ico-pic-5

Fahd bin Falah bin Hithleen, Chairman of the Saudi Camel Club, said that the final race of the 3rd edition of King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, an annual event taking place under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, will welcome for the first time the participation of a woman, Princess Jamila bint Abdulmajeed bin Saud bin Abdulaziz, in the camel racing competition.ico-pic-3-shaikh-fahd-bin-falah-bin-hethlen-icos-new-chairman

He congratulated the princess on pioneering the introduction of Saudi women into the world of camels, a source of much Arabian folklore and a reflection of the history and culture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He wished her every success in this new and exciting undertaking.ico-pic-2-center-seat-shaikh-fahd-bin-falah-bin-hethlen-icos-new-chairman

“The conclusion of the camel race this year will be on Saturday in front of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques with have a different flavor, with the participation of the first woman in camel races,” bin Hithleen wrote on his official Twitter account.king-abdulaziz-camel-festival-2019-pic-9-race

“I congratulate Princess Jamila bint Abdulmajeed bin Saud bin Abdulaziz for breaking into the camel world and wish her all the success,” bin Hithleen added.king-abdulaziz-camel-festival-2019-pic-29

Present-day camel racing no longer involves actual jockeys on camelback. Robotic units are attached to the camels, which are controlled by their handlers using remote controls as they circle the course in SUVs.king-abdulaziz-camel-festival-2019-pic-4

King Salman will attend the final ceremony of the six-week festival on Saturday where he will be joined by leaders from around the region, including His Highness the Crown Prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Representative of His Highness the Emir. Prime Minister Muhamedkaliy Abilgaziyev of Kyrgyzstan will attend also.king-abdulaziz-camel-festival-2019-pic-11

Held some 120 km south of Riyadh, in the Sayahed district of Al-Dahna desert, the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival is one of the most important, if not the most important, camel festival in the world. It enhances the contribution of the Saudi tourism sector to the Kingdom’s GDP, in line with the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.king-abdulaziz-camel-festival-2019-pic-10

According to festival organisers, more than 1,550 camel owners were in attendance at this year’s camel beauty pageant events accompanied by more than 23,500 camels, all competing for the prestigious King Abdulaziz Award for Camel Pageantry.king-abdulaziz-camel-festival-2019-pic-13

Earlier this week, more than 40 ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions accredited to the Kingdom visited the festival, touring various venues such as Camel Village, the Desert Park and various pavilions, as well as paying a visit to the World of Nomads event, which showcases the histories and cultures of nomadic peoples from more than 75 countries.king-abdulaziz-camel-festival-2019-pic-16

International Camel Organisation

The formation of the International Camel Organisation was announced on Thursday in the presence of the Organisation’s first Constituent Assembly and representatives of 96 interested countries. The non-profit is to be headquartered in Riyadh.king-abdulaziz-camel-festival-2019-pic-19

Bin Hithleen was unanimously elected to a five-year term as Chairman of the new body.

Delegates pointed to the Riyadh Charter as the basis for the Organisation’s profile and activities. The Charter highlights the role of camels in world history, their role in the cultural heritage of many countries and the importance of nurturing camels and supporting those who dedicate themselves to taking care of camels.king-abdulaziz-camel-festival-2019-pic-18

With the announcement of the founding of the International Camel Organisation, a list of goals and activities was promulgated. Among those goals are:

  1. Ensuring that camels and camel-related activities nurture mutual understanding, friendship and community-building;
  2. Promoting and developing the moral, scientific, technical and basic skills needed to study and nurture camels;
  3. Promoting good relations with Arab, regional, continental and international organisations, institutions, committees and associations, and non-governmental organisations specialized in camels.
  4. Expanding the base of practice, equipment and sites for camel activities all over the world
  5. Adopting and maintaining international rules and principles in camel-related activities;
  6. Ensuring fair competition and raising awareness about the harmful effects of stimulants on camels;
  7. Encouraging scientific research on camels and enriching world literature with books and translations by supporting studies, authors and translators;
  8. Maintaining the highest levels of security and safety during various camel-related activities; holding conferences, courses, seminars; and issue regulations aimed at enhancing safety training for all members of the organization.
  9. Cooperating with international bodies to contribute to the development and ongoing update of regulations and laws on camel-related activities.
  10. Establishing research centers and provide technical expertise as well as research grants in various fields relating to camels in order to enrich cultural and scientific knowledge in the field on a global scale.
  11. Contributing to the dissemination of knowledge through educational, cultural, scientific, historic, sports and media programs and through the establishment of magazines, newspapers and TV, video and radio channels.

king-abdulaziz-camel-festival-2019-pic-20The announcement concerning the establishment of the International Camel Organisation came at the end of the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival and just as an exhibition of the Nomad Games debuted as part of the Festival with a spectacular opening ceremonies there. Teams from many countries took part in horse riding, hunting, archery, wrestling and traditional dance competitions. The games are dedicated to preserving traditional nomadic culture and have become Central Asia’s biggest sporting event. The first Nomad Games were held in 2014 in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan with the participation of 580 athletes from 19 countries.

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