RIYADH: As part of the seventh edition of the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, held under the slogan “Himt Tuwaiq” 130 km north of Riyadh, 30 women participated in the Princess Nourah race.
The participants will appear in front of the final committee of judges and the audience on Saturday, Jan. 7, and then the winners will be announced.
Fahd bin Falah bin Hathleen, chairman of the board of directors of the Camel Club, approved naming the women’s race at this edition after Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman, sister of the founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz.
According to a statement issued by the club, the empowerment of women was a key aim behind their participation in the festival.
Munirah Al-Meshkhas, a former contestant, expressed her pride in being the only media specialist to participate in the first women’s race at the festival last year.
“Camels are part of the religious, national and popular heritage (of the Kingdom)…and we view them in Saudi Arabia as a symbol that we are proud of,” she told Arab News.
The festival has been consistently seeing a growing interest and has been introducing people around the world to the cultural heritage associated with camels in the region.
Al-Meshkhas called on the festival’s organizers to increase the number of women’s races in the next edition. She expects a robust competition for this race and has promised to participate next year as soon as she finds “a strong financial supporter.”
Nada Al-Busaily, one of the contesters, is participating in this year’s race with a camel named Shaqha.
“My goal is to introduce my daughter to this experience, as the camel is a symbol of Saudi heritage, and we aspire through our participation to foster this legacy among our children,” she said.
“Camels are a promising investment, and I encourage my daughters to enter the business, as it is a promising field in light of the current government support for women,” she added.
The women’s race was approved for the first time in the festival’s sixth edition when the individual women’s race was held for Maghatir camels of all colors.
Each woman participated with only one camel. Upon the initial sorting, 10 participants who were presented to the committee of judges qualified. Five participants went on to win, with Haya Askar winning first place, Rasma Al-Dosari second, Malaz O’un third, Lamia Al-Rashidi fourth and Dalal Al-O’taibi fifth.