DUBAI, 5th March 2018: Canine lovers across the UAE and Gulf are gearing up for the 11th edition of the Saluki Championship organized by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) which will kick-off this month with two days of qualifying matches action being held for the first time in both amateur and professional categories in Al Marmoum area (Circle 11) of Dubai.
The organizing committee of this heritage championship announced that the qualifying matches will be held on 10th March for the category of amateurs and 11thMarch for the category of professionals. The finals of both categories has been scheduled for 25th March.
Registration of participants is open for three days from 7th to 9th March from 4pm to 7pm with the organizing committee announcing the rules and conditions of the championships, including the installation of smart collars on the competing Saluki to ensure transparency in monitoring the results.
Known to be the fastest breed over long distances with the Guinness Book of World Records in 1996 having listed the fastest saluki as having reached a speed of 68.8kph, male and female salukis will race over distances of 1,000 meters and 2,500 meters during this championship which has become a much anticipated event in the calendar of both UAE residents and tourists alike.
Ms. Suad Ibrahim Darwish, Director of Championships at HHC, said they were leaving no stone unturned in preparation for this heritage event from the registration process and the installation of smart collars.
“We have overcome all challenges to ensure the satisfaction of all participants in this traditional sport. The championship is one of the most important and prestigious events in the country, attracting large numbers of residents and tourists. It is held in an area that is easily accessible and regularly features important races in the UAE, sporting fans get a chance to witness a world class local championship,” she said.
“The preparations for the championship are no longer limited to organizational and technical standards, but also include indicators of happiness and success. The participants are given ample time to prepare for the race, choosing their breed for the event and ensuring quality of performance in front of spectators. The final outcome will be rich rewards for their efforts in maintaining a culture closely associated with the history of the region,” she added.
For the first time there will be qualifying matches in both amateur and professional categories with the top three in each race advancing to the finals.
Mr. Juma Khalifa Al Muhairi, Chairman of the Saluki Tournament Committee, said the qualifiers will get a break of two weeks to prepare for the final.
“Unlike last season, it won’t be a direct final. There will be a qualifying round in both amateur and professional categories so that the best compete in the final. We expect to have 10 matches of racing in the qualifying rounds but there could be more depending on the number of entries,” he said.
“This season there are requests for participation from countries around the region such as Bahrain and Kuwait. We expect to see an increase in the number of participation in both categories from last year. This is a reflection of the Centre’s efforts to review and upgrade the championship each year by improving the organizational and technical aspects of the competition as the number of contestants increase,” he added.
“The participants will also be given a chance to select which qualifying race to enter. We are providing many services to ease the process of registration. There will also be routine testing of blood samples of participating salukis who will also get two weeks to rest and prepare for the finals,” said Al Muhairi.
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.