Women throughout history have faced many challenges navigating the world of male-dominated sports. Now, Khawla Al Balooshi and Hakima Ghaith have made history as the first Emirati women to compete alongside men in a camel race. At the preliminary race for the annual UAE National Day Camel Marathon at Al Marmoom Race Track in Dubai, Al Balooshi participated in the 18-29 age category, while Gaith played in the over 30s group.
Successfully striding through the four-kilometer track, the women revealed how thrilled they were to be the first Emirati women to compete in the official camel race in the UAE. Proving that women can excel in all fields, Gaith revealed that this heritage sport supplies her with a lot of positive energy throughout her workday. “In my daily life, I work in the field of aviation as a ground employee, and this type of heritage sports gives me a lot of positive energy,” she said.
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The second preliminary race on December 3 will coincide with the UAE’s 50th National Day celebrations, while the final marathon will be held a month later. Winning the opening race, Issa Al Ahbabi, who competed in the 18-29 age group, completed the race in six minutes and 35 seconds, while Yahya Al Mallai, who competed in the 30s age group, won with a time score of seven minutes and 5 seconds.
With a deep-rooted traditional significance in the sports of camel racing, the UAE National Day Camel Marathon aims to shed light on a practice that has endured centuries of progression but has stood its ground in intangibility. The marathon also encourages Emiratis to participate in this sport, spreading national pride and community spirit.