A contestant waits for his turn yesterday.
DOHA: The number of participants at the fifth annual Qatar International Falcon and Hunting Festival has already reached 1,400, making the festival the biggest yet, say organisers.
“The participants this year reached 1,400, which is the highest number since the festival started,” said Mohamed Abdulatif Al Misned, Vice- Chairman of festival organizing committee, announcing registration for the Al Mazain competition would go on until January 28.
Speaking at yesterday’s press conference before the start of the festival, Al Misned thanked Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani for his support to the festival as well as all government and non-government entities which have shown their support to the month-long event.
One of the most anticipated events in Qatar and the GCC, the festival is lauded for highlighting falconry and hunting as significant aspect of Arab heritage and at the same time attracting domestic and regional tourism.
The festival, being held at Sabkath Marma in Sealine, attracted many enthusiasts of the sport yesterday at the opening competition which was the Hadad Challenge. Huge screens were fixed at the venue to enable the audience to follow the shaheen falcon as it chases the dove through special cameras that can follow every movement of the bird of prey. In addition, a commentator was also present to give remarks about the proceedings of the contest.
The initial part of the competition seemed to run in favour of the doves but the last moments of the contest surprised the audience as the falcon owned by Ali Saeed Al Malkas Al Marri, managed to capture the dove to the loud cheers of the audience as it happened after a long chase. Al Kass sports channel is airing the competitions from 9.30am to 11pm. The competition proved to be popular among falconry enthusiasts, with the Al Gannas Association Twitter account is now followed by 3,103 people and its Instagram by 2, 680 followers.
Meanwhile, Al Gannas Association is hosting at the end of this month the 45th Council Delegate Meeting of the International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey (IAF), Zayed Mohammad Al Ali Al Maadeed announced at the press conference yesterday.
Zayed Mohammad Al Ali Al Maadeed, said Al Gannas Association will host by the end of this month in the 45th meetings of the general assembly for the international falcon federation and the meeting will be under the sponsorship of Katara.
The meeting will discuss proposals and suggestions raised by falconers all over the world before it will be forwarded to the IAF. Also in the agenda are international laws against falconry as a sport.
Sixty-six countries have confirmed participation to the conference in addition to 20 more suggested to attend the meeting. Organizations such as Cites and Unesco in addition to falcon federations in the Arab region, Europe, the US, Asia and Africa are among those expected to attend the meeting.
After this meeting, an international conference called Veterinary Medicine for Falconry into the 21st Century will also be organised, which will see the attendance veterinarians and veterinary students from universities in the Gulf and from outside. Speakers include eminent research scientist and well known vets specialising in falcons and avian veterinary medicine.