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Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum attends the ninth Saluki Championship

posted on 08/03/2016: 1573 views



H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, attended the ninth edition of the Saluki Championship which took place on Sunday in the Al Marmoum area of Dubai.

This event, which is organised and supervised by the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Centre, HHC, has regularly attracted Arabian Salukis, one of the oldest-known breeds of domesticated dog in the entire world, and their owners from all across the GCC and beyond over the years, with everyone only too keen to display their hounds' hunting skills.

There were four races in total – two for female Salukis (amateur/general public and professional) and two for males (amateur/general public and professional) with a total of 190 participations. The professional category was run over one kilometre, whereas the amateur classification was held over 2.5km.

Saluki hunting is widely regarded as the most lucrative and prestigious pastime among all of the traditional culture and heritage pursuits and such a standing has drawn multinational representation from international destinations as far afield as Australia, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa and Uruguay in recent times.

Finland's Laura Rodriguez owns four Salukis and she was in attendance purely to photograph her friends' dogs running in the respective races. "I love that Salukis run fast and that they're an old breed," she explained. "They're quite independent and naughty, but very loving at the same time. I just really like them; they're my breed of dog. Salukis are not a terribly fashionable breed in Europe, but there are still quite a lot of them all the same. Most Saluki owners there are very active at dog shows and the like."

Fellow Scandinavian Johan Forsman, of Sweden, released a dog at the start line of the very first run and clearly thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the day overall. "I was here for the Saluki Championship last year and it's always great fun seeing the dogs racing and what the tradition is all about here," admitted the veterinarian, who works with falcons in the emirate. "I like to soak up the atmosphere here and it's just exciting, so I usually come down here with some friends and have a good time.

"I've learnt a lot about Emirati culture and heritage in my two and a half years here. I love the many different aspects of international culture, so experiences like this one definitely enhances my personal experience here in Dubai. A lot of people come to Dubai and experience just the city side of things. I think it's really important to experience the traditional side and being out in the desert as well," he added.

Sunday's event was attended by Abdullah Hamdan bin Dalmook, HHC Chief Executive Officer, and other senior members.

Ahmed Saif Al Zafin, Head of the Committee for the Saluki Championship, said, "We've noticed that the interest in Salukis in on the increase and, consequently, the number of participants at this championship is growing year on year. We're looking for quality rather than quantity though, so we keep close tabs on the overall attendance figures."

Souad Ibrahim Darwish, Director of Championships at the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Centre, said, "Owners are becoming more and more educated about Salukis and the very latest methods to train them. The speeds are getting progressively higher as a result and that doesn't just simply happen overnight. It's a long process that takes a lot of effort and research into the best breeds of dog. The size of the dog plays a big part as that's the game changer."

Sheikh Almur bin Maktoum Al Maktoum said, "The Saluki Championship has evolved over the years in the UAE thanks to its growing popularity and I believe it will witness more developments in the future. Hunting with salukis was one of the main sources of living in this region and in addition to horses and camels, the saluki is one of the historical symbols of this part of the world. With the aim of sustaining this heritage, it's important that such events are held, to maintain the popularity of this tradition. We thank the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Centre for organising such a huge championship that has become an attraction for young people who play a major role in spreading and sustaining our heritage." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/sports/1395292494462.html

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