Behind the Scenes at the Camel Racecourse in Dubai
Organized from October to March in the Emirates, camel races arouse a great deal of passion. The Al Marmoum Camel Race Track, a complex supported by the Emir, and the Al Wathba Race Track in Abu Dhabi hold the most prestigious and best-endowed competitions. Camels can run at speeds up to 65 km/h in short sprints and they can maintain a speed of 40 km/h for an hour.
They are controlled by small robots, which contain a walkie-talkie speaker enabling owners to deliver commands to the camels during the race, as well a small automatic whip operated by a remote control. Prize money for winning camels can be upwards of $2 million.
Assigned by an online travel magazine launched by Vox Media, I made my way to the racetrack at 5 o'clock in the morning, to get a look behind the scenes and meet the people who actually train the camels, prepare them for the race and take them back home afterwards.