Ash-Shania, Qatar (AP) – Like all good seasoned contestants, Naza’a exudes not only a striking beauty, but also a sense of contentment and grace.
She batted her eyelashes and flashed a toothy smile for television cameras at the Mzayen World Cup, held in the Qatari desert 15 miles (25 kilometers) from Doha and soccer’s World Cup.
Nazaa: Astuel Camel.
Think of the Westminster Dog Show crossed with the Miss America Pageant, except with camels.
Nazaa is a majestic creature who beat several rounds of preparation and hundreds of camels to win the competition at the Qatar Camel Club on Friday.
Designed to create cultural awareness for World Cup visitors, this event is sponsored by the Ministry of Sports and Youth and is in collaboration with the National World Cup Organizing Committee and the Delivery and Legacy Steering Committee.
Nazaa was one of 15 camels competing for the crown, paraded by fans wearing ornate collars and strung with precious stones.
“I thought our camel was better than Ronaldo and Messi,” said Jassim Al Quwari, a member of the Nazaa family.
These events are regularly held in the Middle East, where people have been associated with camels for generations.
“This is our culture. This is a long time ago from our fathers and grandfathers, “Al Quwari “Today is a competition, a beauty contest. We love these camels. We give them names. It’s like a family.”
Visitors were greeted by a camel jingle, “Welcome to the Camel Races,” and served Karak spiced tea with milk. The owners and their families were seated in an air-conditioned luxury tent with red velvet chairs and a glass wall to watch the race.
The main attraction was the pure female camels. Competitors perform multiple passes in front of cheering fans. There is also a milking contest, with the prize going to the camel that produces the most milk.
Make no mistake, this is a tough competition: a doctor is on staff to make sure the animals don’t use fillers or botox to make them look more beautiful. Last December, dozens of camels from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Camel Festival were given cosmetic makeovers.
Then there is the money: the winner, second and third place camels all get a trophy. Naza’s owners received 200,000 Qatari riyals ($55,000). The camel that produces the most milk will be awarded 15,000 riyals.
“I have been with camels and their races since I was a child,” said camel owner Hamad Al Gracey. “Camels existed before airplanes and cars. They were called ships of the desert. After modern vehicles, camels became less popular, but they still have a big place in our culture.
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. all rights reserved. This article may not be published, distributed, rewritten or redistributed without permission.