AMMAN — The annual Jordanian Camel Race Festival, which took place in Disah (Wadi Rum desert), concluded on Thursday.
The two-day festival was held under the patronage of HRH Crown Prince Hussein, as part of the celebrations marking the Kingdom’s centennial.
“This festival included two essential activities that are closely linked with the desert and the Jordanian Badia,” head of the Jordanian Camel Races Committee Jamal Al Bdour told The Jordan Times.
The first part of the festival marked the launching of the camel races on Sheikh Zayed Race Track in Disah with the participation of 500 camels, according to Bdour.
“The races were held over the course of two days through the use of robotic devices attached to the camels, as contestants guided them from outside the track while following the race with their cars,” he said.
Only one race was held with camels ridden by extremely trained jockeys as part of the closing ceremony with the presence of HRH the Crown Prince, Bdour added.
“The camels participating in the races were of Pure Arabian origin, with fit, thin bodies, a high running speed, and an ability to tolerate and respond to training,” he said, adding that some camels may train for two years before they race.
“The oval shaped racing track is 4 kilometres long and we are currently working on expanding it to reach up to 7 kilometres by the end of this year,” said Bdour.
He also noted that a camel’s speed can reach up to 65k/h, which means that it can travel 4 kilometres in three minutes.
As for the second part of the festival, a Nabati poetry competition was held in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, according to Bdour.
“A total of 112 poets submitted their poems for a committee that received them without showing the names of the authors to guarantee impartiality and transparency,” he said.
The committee then chose the best 10 poems and invited their authors for a competition in Al Sultana Camp in Disah, where they recited their poems in front of a committee made up of distinguished poets, who chose the first three winners on Wednesday evening, Bdour added.
“The desert and its camels have always been the main inspirations for the Arab poets since the earliest of times,” he said.