ALULA: The countdown has begun for the inaugural AlUla Camel Cup, the pinnacle of camel racing, as details of the revamped AlUla Camel Racing Field were unveiled along with a fashion guide, retail offerings, and dining outlets.
Held under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, chairman of the Royal Commission for AlUla, more than 40 of the region’s finest racing camels have qualified for the tournament.
Phillip Jones, the RCU’s chief tourism officer, said: “Much time and effort has been spent ensuring that the AlUla Camel Cup has a venue showcasing the stunning backdrop of AlUla in which the pinnacle of camel racing will be held.
“As a place that helped enhance and expand Saudi Arabia’s traditional pastime of camel racing across the region, the AlUla Camel Racing Field is an important venue in the history of the sport. The AlUla Camel Cup now marks another milestone moment in both the AlUla Camel Racing Field and camel racing’s glorious journey.
“We look forward immensely to Tuesday for the beginning of what will be a major highlight in Saudi Arabia’s sporting calendar,” he added.
Organized by the RCU – as part of the AlUla Moments calendar – in collaboration with the Saudi Camel Racing Federation, a champion of champions will be crowned at the refurbished, state-of-the-art AlUla Camel Racing Field.
The AlUla Camel Racing Field now has a total area of approximately 20 square kilometers, with a capacity of 900 people. The main track is 6 sq km in size, with the length of the racetrack 8,140 meters, and the width ranging from 20 to 38 meters. There are five turns and two sides of balustrade running for 16 km.
SCRF executive director, Mahmoud Suleiman Albalawi, said: “The revamped AlUla Camel Racing Field, a venue of historical significance in our illustrious sport, is truly befitting a tournament of the magnitude of the AlUla Camel Cup.
“As well as being the pinnacle for the elite of camel racing, the AlUla Camel Cup helps us introduce our sport to a wider audience, ensuring that our revered national pastime remains attractive and exciting to new generations.”
Advanced technology has been used to ensure the safety and efficiency of the races while still preserving the sport’s cultural and traditional values.
The four-day event will offer a heritage village featuring a range of local Saudi fashion, jewelry, and homeware and the Madrasat Addeera store will be selling handmade crafts and jewelry from local artisans.
Al-Qafila market will offer locally made souvenirs and handicrafts, and immersive experiences such as watching live camels and learning about their feats and attributes, while painting camel monuments, henna, calligraphy, and sand art areas will also be available, plus a variety of dining options.
The activities follow on from a parade held on Saturday which featured 15 camels and a group of performers in traditional Saudi attire.
One of the performers showcased Alheda’a, the oral tradition of calling camel flocks. The ancient art is inscribed in the UNESCO list of Intangible Heritage of Saudi Arabia. The camel parade aimed to highlight how the cup was bringing together ancient and modern, sport and culture, elemental and opulent, in the Kingdom’s sporting calendar.
AlUla Camel Cup is one of the flagship sporting occasions of the AlUla Moments 2023 calendar of events and festivals, which includes five major festivals and six marque events.
So far this year, AlUla has hosted The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup, the AlUla Trail Race, and the Saudi Tour.