DUBAI // Hundreds of bird lovers flocked to the Meydan Ruwayyah area to take part in this year’s Fazza Championship for Falconry.
The event, organised by the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Centre, attracted more than 270 participants and their birds of prey.
This year was the first time state-of-the-art laser sensors specially designed for the competition to track the speed of falcons speed during flight were used.
Falconers carried their birds to the starting point, where they were unleashed to fly a 400-metre track towards the sound of prey at the finish line.
Mohammad Khalifah, who has been taking part in the competition since 2003, said the championship brought Emirati heritage alive.
“This is our tradition and our heritage, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed has brought it alive by bringing people to take part in it and by putting up different prizes,” he said.
Mohammed Al Shehi, 27, who is part of a 30-member Youllah singing group, was watching the competition live on a screen set up in a tent near the course.
“This competition is great. It’s interesting to see the birds and the kinds of falcons there are, as well as see our traditions still going strong,” he said.
“Along with the championship are events that are also related to our heritage.
“Our presence and performance as a singing group complements Dubai, which is the epitome of modernity, with its traditions and heritage,” he said.
Meanwhile, officials from the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) were present to deliver up-to-the-minute reports on weather conditions to organisers to help participants, the public, as well as the competing falcons.
Ali Al Musallam, of the NCMS, said his team provided a report to the organisers every 10 to 15 minutes.
“The speed and direction of the wind are very important to the sport, and that is why we provide live reports,” he said. “The organisers need to know this information in case they need to change the location of the race, something that was already done today.”
Mr Al Musallam said he was honoured to help out.
“We are pleased to be here and ready to be of any assistance. We have our mobile station and our experts present, and we are in constant contact with our permanent stations across the country,” he said.
The championship will continue until January 15.