The camel race is among the secondary attractions of the World Cup

Like all good pageant contestants, Nazaa’a displayed not only stunning beauty, but also poise and grace.

He batted his eyelashes and flashed a toothy smile for the television cameras at the Mzayen World Cup, a competition held in the Qatari desert, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) from Doha and the soccer World Cup. Nazaa’a, watch out, it’s a camel. Think Westminster Dog Show crossed with the Miss America pageant, except, well, camels. Nazaa’a is a majestic light-haired creature who overcame several preliminary rounds and hundreds of other camels to win the competition at the Qatar Camel Mzayen Club on Friday. The event, which was designed to bring cultural awareness to World Cup visitors, was sponsored by the Ministry of Sports and Youth in collaboration with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the local World Cup organizing committee. Nazaa’a was one of 15 camels competing for the crown, paraded by fans while wearing jeweled collars and draped with strings of precious stones.

“We thought our camel was better than Ronaldo and Messi,” joked Jassim al Kuwari, part of the family that owns Nazaa’a. These events occur regularly throughout the Middle East, where people have connected with camels for generations. ”This is our culture. This is a long time ago, from our fathers and grandfathers,” Al Kuwari said. “Today is a competition, a beauty competition. We like these camels. We give them names. It’s like a family.”Visitors were greeted by a “Welcome to the Camel Competition” camel target and served Karak, a spiced milk tea. The owners and their families sat in a luxury tent with air conditioning, red velvet chairs and a glass wall to watch the competition.

The main attraction was the purebred camels. Competitors make several passes in front of a stand of fans cheering on their favorite. There is also a milking contest, with the prize going to the camel that produces the most milk. Make no mistake, this is a serious contest: a doctor is on staff to make sure the animals aren’t using fillers or Botox to make them look better. Last December, dozens of camels were disqualified from the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival in Saudi Arabia for cosmetic enhancements. Then there’s the money: the winning, second-place, and third-place camels all receive trophies. Nazaa’s owners won 200,000 Qatari riyals ($55,000). The camel that produces the most milk earns 15,000 riyals. ”I have been with camels and their competitions since I was a child,” said camel owner Hamad al Greissi. “Camels were there before airplanes and cars. They were called ships of the desert. after modern vehicles, camels have become less popular, but still occupy an important place in our culture.” AP KHS KHS

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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