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Camel racing season coming to exciting finish

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(16 Apr 2017) LEADIN: The last events of the camel racing season have been taking place.Owners brought their animals to the Marmoom Heritage Festival to compete for cars and cash prizes.STORYLINE:The race is on.Camels speed down the track at the Marmoom Heritage Festival in Dubai.The event attracts camel owners from across the Gulf for their last chance to win a race this season.Esam Alkhameri, the Head of Media at the Dubai Camel Race Track, claims this festival is "the most important in the region".This is an opportunity to put the animals through their paces - and a chance to make money from prizes and selling top-performing camels.Camels are big business in the region, and a fast one can fetch millions of dollars. There are plenty on show here - Alkhameri estimates around 13,000 camels are taking part in the festival.There are lots of different levels of racing ability here - and lots of different prizes too.Camel owners are competing for more than 300 cars and cash prizes of up to 500,000 US dollars.Saqr Falih says he has won many prizes through his hobby.He's from Saudi Arabia and takes part in races all over the region. Today his camel wins first prize and he is extremely happy."I feel like I almost had a baby," he says.The animal is honoured with the traditional celebration - its head is covered with a saffron mix.The camel will retain this vivid colour for 40 days.Tradition is important in the UAE, despite its increasing modernisation."This is our tradition. This is our sport that started in our Arabian peninsula," says Alkhameri. "There was a time where we didn't have oil or even the riches that we have now and we didn't have the luxury that we have today. If you think about it, we don't need these camels, or these birds or falcons and we don't need the horses anymore but this is a way for us to return the favour to these amazing creatures."The Marmoom Heritage Festival continues until 17 April.You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/you... Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork

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AP Archive 4091226 115aab02fc05e3b62a5a65ac668f0d2e MEEX UAE Camel Racing United Arab Emirates Middle East Dubai Animals Lifestyle
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