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Emirati Women Compete In The UAE National Day Camel Marathon For The First Time

Women all over the world have been subject to a number of challenges when it comes to making space for themselves in the male-dominated sports world. Making history in Dubai, Khawla Al Balooshi and Hakima Ghaith have become 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, Gaith played in the over 30s group and Al Balooshi participated in the 18-29 age category.

The Emirati women were delighted to have been the first to compete in the official camel race in the UAE – which is a pretty big deal out here! Women of many talents, and examples of how women can excel in various aspects of their lives, Gaith talked about how camel racing makes her feel positive and full of life, “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.

The second part of the race will take place on 3rd December 2021 and will coincide with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee National Day celebrations, and the final marathon will take place in January 2022. The opening race was won by Issa Al Ahbabi, who competed in the 18-29 age group, and finished the race in 6 minutes and 35 seconds, while Yahya Al Mallai, who competed in the 30s age group, won with a finishing time of 7 minutes and 5 seconds.

Camel racing is a heritage sport in the Middle East and is a significant part of tradition. The UAE National Day Camel Marathon highlights a sport that has seen the development of a modern world, but has maintained its traditional roots and sensibilities. The race also invites Emiratis to take an interest in the sport and share a sense of national pride.

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