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Saudi Arabia’s AlUla gains growing reputation for hosting heritage sport competitions

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla gains growing reputation for hosting heritage sport competitions
May 4, 2024

Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has a growing reputation as the home of diverse and exciting heritage sports from across the region and beyond.

The city hosts two of the sector's newest and most high-profile contests – the Arab Cup for Camel Racing and the World Championship for International Camel Endurance - offering camel sports enthusiasts, teams, and owners, from the across the region to travel to AlUla for the first edition of these new competitions, each featuring multi-million SAR prize pools.

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has worked closely with key partners the Arab Camel Racing Federation and the International Camel Racing Federation to stage the new competitions.

Held on 3rd May at the Mugheira Heritage Sports Village, the debut Arab Camel Cup saw some of the sport's leading riders from 16 Arab nations compete over 13 hotly contested rounds of racing for a share of prizes exceeding US$800,000.

Today, 4th May, will see an international contingent of camels and riders tested to their limits as part of the first-ever World Championship for International Camel Endurance. With a total prize pool of US $530,000 to be won, the two-stage challenge will cover a total of 16km with male and female riders competing in their respective categories.

The winners will receive US$133,000, with the remaining prize money shared among the runners up. Riders participating in the World Endurance Championship in AlUla will be registered based on their age (at least 18 years old) and type of camel, which will include: Hail, Thanaya Bakkar, Zamoul, and Thanaya Qadan.

Building on AlUla's established status as the premier destination for heritage sports, including a diverse collection of camel races, horseback and endurance challenges, and more, the two new competitions are attracting an international audience of spectators as well as enthusiasts from across the Kingdom and the wider AlUla community.

The Arab Camel Cup and the World Endurance Championship will both be held in support of the Ministry of Culture's 'Year of the Camel' initiative, celebrating the camels' status in Saudi culture and society. These events also support RCU's long-term plan to champion the deeply rooted cultural legacy of camel and heritage sports, while also opening new opportunities for socio-economic growth within AlUla and northwest Arabia.

RCU's ambitions for heritage sports are closely linked to its tourism and cultural conservation plans, placing each at the heart of the community as a powerful and unifying area of development aligned with the Kingdom's Vision 2030 plan.

Ziad Alsuhaibani, Chief Sports Officer at the Royal Commission for AlUla, noted "Hosting the new Arab Camel Cup and the first-ever World Endurance Championship is yet another exciting milestone in the ongoing evolution and development of heritage sports in northwest Arabia.

"As the sector continues to go from strength to strength, RCU is excited to welcome the very best teams, owners, and riders to participate in thrilling new competitions that showcase much-loved categories of traditional sports as well as the wonderful, purpose-built facilities that have been created in AlUla to accommodate participants and spectators alike.

"The heritage sports sector continues to grow at a rapid pace, bringing with it new opportunities for inclusive growth, dynamic investment, and of course new levels of sporting excellence. The Arab Camel Cup and the World Endurance Championship are new and welcome editions to AlUla's growing calendar of year-round cultural and sporting events."

Image. The first Arab Camel Cup and first World Endurance Championship, held on 3rd May and 4th May respectively, will both feature a prestigious field of thoroughbred racing camels

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