Phenomenal development in falconry racing from small beginnings: HHC Deputy CEO
Fakhr Al Ajyal Championship for Falconry - Telwah
- Over 5,000 falcons registered in the take-off area in two championships in Dubai this season
- Farms in Russia, Kazakhstan, England, Scotland and Germany breeding special falcons to meet demand in the UAE and GCC
DUBAI, 13th February 2018: The Emirati heritage sport of falconry has not only realized the strategic vision of the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) to revive the intangible culture of the UAE but also attracted global interest from falconers thanks to the successful organization of two major Fazza Falconry Championships in Dubai.
As the curtain is set to come down on another highly successful falconry season with the ‘Noukhba’ or Super Finals of the sixth edition of the Fakhr Al Ajyal (Pride of the Generation) Championship for Falconry Telwah at the dedicated Fazza Falconry Championship site in Ruwayyah area off Emirates Road (exit 55) in Dubai on Thursday 15th February, Rashid Mubarak Bin Markhan, Deputy CEO at HHC, speaks about the levels of organization and management these championships have reached with the help of technology and the phenomenal increase in the number of participants and the quality of falcons.
“The system of falconry championship has not changed. The starting point, finish line and the 400-metre track remain the same. However, every year we notice massive changes in the environment and atmosphere around the championships,” said Rashid Bin Markhan who has attended the Fazza Championships for Falconry this season and has been present throughout to follow the competitions and honour the winners.
“We can be proud of the success achieved this season which is about to end with the second and biggest Fazza Falconry Championships. This season alone HHC has actually registered more than 5,000 entries from the take-off area where falcons are released. This is a massive increase from the modest 500 entries registered during the first championship ever,” he said.
“All the championships are derived from the idea of hunting with falcons, breeding and raising them for racing. From the inaugural edition, we began with the help of expert falconers like Dumaithan bin Sweidan, who is until now the Head of the Fazza Championships - Falconry Committee. Like in all the other Fazza Championships, people heading these committees are still there. Proudly, they enrich these championships with their extensive knowledge and experience. The goals are now set. Our vision and mission have become united as one because everyone shares these objectives and are aligned with our strategic goals,” he said.
Rashid Bin Markhan pointed out that technology has helped develop the championships to a different level.
“Every year there has been upgrading of systems in the provision of services such as Majlis tents, television screens and digital technology to transmit the event and manage it on the championship site. The electronic registration systems, warm-up area and all the logistics on the ground facilitates the process of participation with ease to all participants,” he said.
“It is simple. The system of participation in competitions is clear. From the minute falconers enter the tent, all the way to the race track, there are sensors and smart chips to monitor the falcon. Falconers have to just go and release their bird,” he said.
“This all proves that we have achieved and realized the strategic vision of HHC. We have revived the intangible heritage among the local communities and spread awareness around it. Through these championships we have brought back the hobby of hunting with falcons only in a different more competitive form, passing it on to the next generation,” said Rashid Bin Markhan.
On the evolution of the championship, he said: “Since we started under the directions of the Crown Prince of Dubai, HHC has held championships for juniors. Years later we find these children have become adults competing and winning first places. So we are really yielding the results from this national mission and because of that we have managed to convey the message of the Crown Prince of Dubai and to achieve our strategic goal.”
Rashid Bin Markhan said it was pleasing and fulfilling to yield results after 17 years or more.
“We have moved from just the local community to the regional level and I think we have managed to attract a lot of people from abroad having their own farms such as in Russia, Kazakhstan, England, Scotland and Germany. People around the world have moved into the production of special falcons that are dedicated for the championships catering to the demand in the UAE and the GCC as well,” he said.
“Since HHC was established the falcon has been the symbol of the UAE, this development is not surprising. Today we are working to share this proud achievement with other emirates in a spirit of union to enhance the national identity among our youth and children,” he concluded.
Following is the remaining tournament schedule for the Fakhr Al Ajyal (Pride of the Generation) Championship for Falconry Telwah:
Wednesday 14th February: RC Airplane Finals (Sheikhs and General)
Thursday 15th February: ‘Al Noukhba’ Super Final (Sheikhs) Farkh and Jernas - Car; Super Final (General) Farkh and Jernas - Car
The official sponsors of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center are: Al Tayer Motors Land Rover, Dubai Airports, AW Rostamani (Arabian Automobiles), Global Village and Al Oula radio station.
This year’s Championship promises to be even more exciting with the format having been changed adding to the thrill and suspense of the competition. Every event will be a virtual final since qualification rounds have been done away with except in the RC (Remote Controlled) Airplane category. As a result there will multiple winners on each day of the competition.
The ancient art of taking wild quarry with a trained bird of prey, Falconry is a traditional and highly valued custom in the UAE, reflecting the Bedouin love of this sport. During races, the falcons are timed over a distance of 400 meters, with the best clocking around 20 seconds. They are lured using bait of pigeon wings.
It will be the turn of greyhound dog breeders and owners when the Saluki Championship for the General Public will be held on February 20th, 2018, while the second Saluki Championship for Elite categories will be held on February 25th, 2018 at Al Marmoum racecourse in Dubai.
The Saktoun Rifle Shooting training will be held from March 11th, 2018 to March 13th, in the Dubai Police Shooting Range in the Ruwayyah area, with the aim of preparing and training all age groups for the Fazza Open Championship for Shooting - Saktoun Rifle where the main tournament will take place from 14th to 17th March 2018.
The Fazza Championship for Shooting - Saktoun for locals will be held on March 18th, 2018 and will continue until March 21st.
Free divers will take to the pool in the penultimate event of the Fazza Championship season.
The Fazza Championship for Freediving will be held from March 22nd, 2018 until March 24th at the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Sports Complex in Ruwayyah. The Fazza Championship for Freediving is preceded by the annual training programs organized by the Center to improve the performance of the free divers, which will take place from March 19th 2018 to March 21st at the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Sports Complex.
The season finale will be when the knights wielding Youlah weapons arrive on the stage in the conclusion of the Fazza Heritage Championships for 2017-18 at the Al Meydan Fort in Global Village. The final episode of the 18th edition of the AED 1 million Fazza Championship for Youlah is scheduled for March 18th, 2018 when the winner of the Fazza Youlah Championship Cup is declared after voting by the fans.
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