Emirati brothers dominate 3rd National Day Camel Marathon

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Emirati brothers dominate 3rd National Day Camel Marathon
Emirati brothers Ghudair Ghulam Al Balooshi, 21, Shafar Ghulam Moosa Al Balooshi, 22, posted a one-two finish at the 3rd National Day Camel Marathon on Sunday

Dubai - The duo started slow to conserve their respective camel's stamina but took control in the middle of the race and never looked back

by

Angel Tesorero

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Published: Sun 3 Dec 2017, 3:53 PM

Last updated: Mon 4 Dec 2017, 2:34 PM

Emirati brothers Ghudair Ghulam Al Balooshi, 21, and Shafar Ghulam Moosa Al Balooshi, 22, registered a strong one-two finish in the 3rd National Day Camel Marathon held on Sunday at the Dubai International Endurance City in Saih al Salam as part of the celebration of the UAE's 46th year of the Union.
The duo, who live in Abu Dhabi, started slow to conserve their respective camel's stamina but took control in the middle of the race and never looked back.
A split-second separated the two, with the younger Ghudair overtaking his older brother, Shafar, from the outside in the final 50 metres of the 25km endurance race.
Ghudair finished the race in one hour and five minutes, beating 41 other Emirati camel riders, while Shafar came in second place with half-a-second difference. Dubai resident, 45-year-old Khamis Ali Saeed Al Malai Al Kutbi finished third with 1hr 5mins and 20 seconds.
For his feat, Ghudair won a brand new 4X4 Nissan Patrol full-option SUV and was awarded a gold-plated scimitar (curved blade) while Shafar and Khamis brought home Dh75,000 and Dh30,000 cash prize respectively. Consolation prizes were also given to finishers up to 30th place.
The win has a special meaning for Ghudair, who named his camel Biladi (My Country). "I dedicate my victory to my country," an exhausted but triumphant Ghudair told Khaleej Times after crossing the finish line.

"All my hard work paid off. I started training with my camel a month ago - going for a 50km run every other day to build our endurance. Then we gradually reduced the distance we covered to 25km and on the eve of the race, my camel and I had a full day rest," said Ghudair sharing his winning strategy.
Shafar, who also finished second in last year's race, also followed a strict practice routine. "I rode my camel for 10km in morning and another 10km in the evening every day for a couple of weeks to prepare for the marathon."
The Al Balooshi brothers started riding the camel since they were seven years old. They said that camel racing has a special place in the rich Emirati culture and that they are proud to carry this tradition up to this modern age.
 
Hundreds of people, Emiratis and expats alike, also came to watch the marathon and started cheering for their friends as the cavalcade started edging toward the Seih Al Salam desert at 8am Sunday morning.
The camel marathon was organised by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) in cooperation with the Dubai Camel Racing Club.

Souad Ibrahim Darwish, Director of Championships at HHC said: "Camel racing is one of the most enduring and centuries-old traditional sports in the UAE."
"The National Day Camel Marathon is aimed at safeguarding our intangible cultural heritage and encouraging Emiratis to participate in traditional sports in an atmosphere that exudes a sense of national pride and community spirit," she underlined.
- angel@khaleejtimes.com



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