You’ve heard of horse racing, but did you know that some people engage in camel racing? It’s popular in Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, Pakistan, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and Mongolia. Saeed Rashed Bin Ghadayer is a leading entrepreneur and equestrian who has made a living participating in the sport.
What is camel racing?
Camel racing is quite different from racing horses. Camels can’t really hold an adult’s weight, so there are no jockeys. Children used to be used, but this became a human rights violation. Now, I personally control my camels with a remote controlled robotic whip. It doesn’t hurt the animal, but helps it run faster in the race. Camels can run up to 65 km/hour, or 40 miles/hour, which makes them only a little slower than horses. This makes the sport very interesting.
Why did you choose the career you did?
Camel and horse racing are huge parts of Emirati culture and heritage. It makes me feel connected to my people, and I love the energy that happens at a race track. I own some of the best horses and camels in the United Arab Emirates, and this fills me with a sense of overwhelming pride. Every time I enter a new race, I want to prove myself and make my country proud.
What are some of your accomplishments?
I’ve won both horse and camel races all throughout the world. I travel to compete and always do very well. Everyone recognizes me as a big name. I’ve even been in association with the Dubai royal family on a number of diverse activities including equestrian challenges.
Tell us about your favorite race.
The one that sticks out in my mind is the President Cup during the Al Wathba Camel Races Festival, which is held in this suburb of Abu Dhabi every year. I won third with my camel Mayohab. It’s such a fun cultural festival that I didn’t even mind coming in third. It just motivated me to try even harder next time.
What do you think makes racing horses and camels special?
It’s a difficult sport that requires a lot of hard work and discipline. Racing makes me feel invigorated and free. I love my animals and showing off what they can do. These sports also mean a great deal to my culture, and I love showing off my skills around the world.
If you’ve never considered watching a horse or camel race, you might just find that they’re exciting sports that deserve worldwide attention.
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