Camel racing, traditionally known as the sport of the sheiks continues even today in the small hamlet of Al Shahaniya, where Qatar’s popular camel racetrack is situated. Visitors are charmed with an exceptional prospect to view the fiercely competitive and one of the most expensive sporting events in Qatar. Al-Shahaniya racing track, an hour's drive into the gleaming desert outside north of downtown Doha, holds domestic and international tournaments on Fridays from November to February. Professional Camel racing started in Qatar in 1972 although it is their traditional sport and the camel race track is a must see for those who visit Doha.
With remote controlled robot camel jockeys, this unique clash of modern and ancient sport delights locals and tourists as toddler-sized robotic riders clothed in a colorful racing silks ride lanky creatures across the sands. Camel racing is a popular amusement attraction and sport in Qatar. There is a regular flow of camels going to and from the track during the race season. The race distances vary by tournament, but each race not often exceeds five kilometers. However races in the main festival run over distances of 6, 8 and 10 kilometers.
More than 6000 camels from Qatar and elsewhere in the GCC participated in The Al-Shahaniya festival last year to win various valuable prizes such as golden and silver daggers in addition to the sword of HH the Emir which is awarded to the winner of the final event of the festival – HH the Emir’s Main Race. The festival is held under the sponsorship of the race’s organizing committee and his highness Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Faysal Al Thani. Shell has signed a contract with the Hejen racing committee to sponsor HH the Emir’s Main Race.
The camel racing tournaments have become a Qatari hallmark and entice crowds from outside the country, especially tourists who arrive during the tournament season. The races have now become international in every sense of the word.
- Local shops