Camel racing storms back in Sinai after virus hiatus
Camel racing is a popular traditional sport in many Arab countries, most notably in the Gulf region. And in Egypt, Bedouins of the South Sinai desert have kept up the tradition.
Back after 6 months break
Hundreds of excited Bedouins gathered in the Sinai desert to race their camels after a six-month break. Race events had been suspended since March following the Covid-19 outbreak, and orders only came down at the beginning of September that they could resume last weekend.
'Training for international race'
The camels ran around a two-kilometre (1.2-mile) track in the Tih plateau, completing it in a matter of minutes. The competition "is a training for the international race, which should take place in October in Sharm el-Sheikh," Saleh al-Muzaini, head of the Nuweiba camel club, told AFP.
Making a debut
One group of camels after another, placed in different categories according to age and whether they were male or female, made their debut on the dirt track lined by sand embankments on each side. On their backs sat mechanical jockeys wearing racing jerseys and brandishing whips, which are lighter than human riders.
Source of additional income
Camel races -- held every two or three months -- often attract large audiences of tourists to the middle of the Sinai desert. Camel racing represents a source of additional income for some, provided they also have the means to train, feed and care for the animal. Each camel costs up to 2,000 Egyptian pounds monthly to feed. A well-trained camel can sell for up to two million Egyptian pounds.