Dubai, 21 January 2020: The future of Emirati heritage sport is bright as falconers, as young as five years old, proved their mettle at the Fazza Championship for Falconry – Juniors Category, organised by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) over the weekend at Al Ruwayyah desert area.
Eight races were held and at least 220 birds saw action as the youngsters proudly carried the falcons on their arms before releasing them for the competition. The annual competition for junior falconers also capped off the Fazza Championship for Falconry-Telwah, which registered a record participation of over 3,500 birds during its three-week run.
Rashid bin Markhan, Deputy CEO of the HHC, said: “The Junior competition is the event that I always look forward to every year. We are assured that the future of falconry in the country is bright. We see a new generation of Emiratis and we witness how they grow up into future falconers.”
“Yes, they are kids – you see them play here and there; they run around the area – but once the falconry racing starts, you see them transform into serious falconers,” he shared.
“They (young falconers) are focused and serious about the falconry competition. They carefully listen to instructions and they carry the falcons on their own and they enter the race area with little adult supervision,” bin Markhan added.
More importantly, Bin Markhan pointed out, is that the competition is helping the young build their character and deep love for the UAE heritage.
Eleven-year-old Abdullah Abdul-Rahman said raising a falcon is not an easy task. “The bird needs special care, food and proper treatment,” he said.
“I learned falconry from my father since I was three years old. Today I have 10 birds and I will buy more to participate in the next season,” he added.
Training falcons also boost the special relationship among siblings
One of the youngest participants, five-year-old Saeed said he his older brother, Suhail, 7, train their birds together. Their uncle Mohammed Al Kindi said: “The two of them train together on weekends and even on holidays. Their father and I, instill in them the love of this sport at a very young age.”
Winning in the race also comes with a hefty prize.
Sheikha Salem Obaid Al-Ketbi, 11, who participated with her three sisters, Maryam, Hessa and Afra, said: “We dream of buying a car as a gift for our mother.”
Results of the 8 races
Muhammad Matar Al Tayer won in the Jeer class with his falcon named ‘T48' that cocked 18.996 minutes, followed by Muhammad Ahmed Al-Ketbi's bird in second place (19 minutes) and third place with to ‘Khuzam' (19.068 minutes)
Hamdan Obaid Al Muhairi's also win first place in another Jeer class, followed by Farakh Al-Raisi, Hamdan bin Mejren and Hamdan Al-Muhairi.
In Jirnas class, Ahmad Rashid Al-Mansoori's falcon raced ahead at first place, followed by the birds of Mohammed Khalfan Al Mazroui and Al-Muhairi in second and third places respectively.
Muhammad Imran Al-Nuaimi won first place in Farkh class, followed by Sultan Saeed Al-Mansoori and Salem Al-Ketbi.
Khaled Marwan Al-Sheikh Mejren also won first place in another race, followed by Hamdan Obaid Al-Muhairi and Hamdan Khalifa Bin Mejren.
Ahmed Jaber Bin Al-Sheikh Mejren's bird also excelled in first position, followed by Majid Al-Ketbi and Hamdan Khalifa bin Mijren.
Saif Muhammad Al-Qamzi won first and second places in Jirnas class followed by Al-Ketbi's bird in third place.
Al-Huraiz's bird came first in another race, followed by Afra Al-Ketbi and Majed Al-Ketbi in second and third places respectively.