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Bullfighting a big draw in Fujairah

posted on 25/01/2009: 6307 views

On a typical Friday in Fujairah, a crowd gathers around a ring and distressed bulls strain against their ropes and bellow mournfully.

A couple of bulls dig their hooves threateningly into the ground, apparently getting ready for the charge.

Bullfighting may be a traditional spectacle of Spain, Portugal, some cities in southern France, and several Latin American countries, but bullfighting also exists in the United Arab Emirates, especially in the emirate of Fujairah, as well as in the Sultanate of Oman.

In Fujairah, however, bullfighting has been transformed into a form of entertainment on Fridays.

While bull owners take care to see their animals do not get hurt and though there is no bloodshed, as in the traditional Spanish sport, nevertheless, the fear and humiliation that the animal goes through is plainly evident.

The bulls are restrained until it is time for the charge. Then they are allowed to lock horns fiercely, encouraged by their owners and vociferously egged on by the crowd. The noise, the dust, the sweltering heat and the agitation of the bulls, all adds to the excitement. The bull, which forces the opponent to back down, is declared the winner.

In some fights, one of the bulls decides enough is enough and makes a retreat, much to the embarrassment of its owner. Its opponent is then declared the winner.

The owner's joy of having his bull's status elevated from ordinary to ‘prize bull', somewhat makes up for the bull's lack of interest in his own victory.

The bullfights in Fujairah attract a lot of spectators from Abu Dhabi, 
Ras Al Khaimah and tourists from 
further afield.

Almost as great an attraction is the arena announcer who provides a strong, gregarious commentary to the events.

Rashid Ibrahim, a fan of bullfighting, said the owner of the losing bull would lose a lot, in pride and the market value of the bull, as a result of the defeat.

"A state of hatred grows between the bull that loses and its owner because the owner of the bull believes that he was stigmatized by the defeat of his bull.”

Ibrahim said the owner who could not find a way to avenge the defeat would either have the bull slaughtered or sold. Hammoud, a resident, said bullfighting was a sport that had been passed 
down through the generations and had now become a part of the Friday entertainment

"During matches, many merchants come from neighbouring places to buy and sell the winning bulls.” The prices of some of the bulls can be incredible, he added.

Hammoud said that when the bullfight was in progress, a number of commandos protected the spectators and controlled the bull as sometimes the retreating bull attacked the spectators in order to get away from the scene.

The sport in Fujairah follows guidelines, the most important of which is the presence of the jury which prohibits fighting between the bulls unless they are equals in breed, weight and pedigree.

The bullfighting takes place in a square open area surrounded by a fence and the fights take between five to 
ten minutes.

However, fans of the sports called for a theatre to be built to watch the bullfights comfortably and for a parking lot for cars. – Khaleej Times


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