UAE's boy falconers take flight

 The Fazza Championship for Falconry has hosted a Junior Falconers Championship over the weekend of January 10-11.
The championship saw Emirati youths between the ages of five and eighteen compete against each other for a first prize of a brand new Infiniti QX60 and prize money pot totaling Dh50,000.

 Over the two days over 90 junior falconers took part as the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center continues in its goal to encourage young Emiratis to embrace and participate in traditional local cultural activities and sports.

 Falconers experienced strong winds over the duration of the championship, causing the course to be rotated to enable the birds to fly effectively. But despite the weather falconers were able to push their falcons to score fantastic times with some falcons covering the 400m distance considering the challenging conditions.

Many of the young falconers found the competition to be a great experience and were pleased to take part as it helps to strengthen their national identity and brings them closer to their families and friends in the spirit of friendly but highly competitive competition. 

 Mohammed Hamad Mohammed Getami Al Amry, a young falconer competing in the event, said: “This is my second year participating in this event and I have all my family members here to support me.

 “Some are cheering me along while others are actually competing against me.  I am taking part with two falcons. I love other sports like football and swimming but this sport is special to me because it teaches me how to hunt and predict specially seeing that I am the best out of my friends. It gives me confidence.”

 Fourteen-year-old falconer, Awad Rashid Al Rozy, explained: “This year I have only got one falcon in the competition but I’m very confident about the strength and agility of this bird. I may only be 14 years old but believe that this I can take first place.

 “I understand the way falcons work so I think I have very serious advantage over others in the Championship. I have put a lot of effort into training my falcon so hopefully it will pay off.”

Hamad Mohammed Al Kamzy, a junior veteran of the Championship, said: “I am returning to the Fazza Championship for Falconry to try and win the first place prize for the second year in a row.

“I have been working hard to train my falcons into the very best condition to help be the fastest bird on the course. The prize money is a great incentive to win but I participate primarily for the feeling of accomplishment and knowing that you have put in a lot of hard work into this traditional sport.“

Saeed Mosalam Al Zeraay, a junior falconer, added: “Hunting with falcons is one of my favourite past times and I have been doing it since I was just 9. My dad would take me hunting to teach me about how people used to live and to make sure I was well rounded and understood the traditions of my family and my country.

“As of now, I have three falcons and I have devoted a lot of time to training them, even though I am not taking part this year. I am here to support my friends and family who are taking part in the Fazza Championship for Falconry. For me, heritage sports are great and they remind me of where I come from and where I belong.”

The annual Fazza Championships for Falconry are being held in the Ruwayyah area of Dubai and have attracted hundreds of falconers from the Emirates and across the region to compete in a wide range of different categories and are already set to become the most successful championships to date.

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