Festival Chairman Ali bin Khatem Al Muhashadi (left) presents a memorial shield to Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Turki Al Saud as Vice Chairman Mohammed bin Abdulatif Al Misnad (third left) looks on.
DOHA: Eighty-nine saluki hounds will join the race to win big prizes at the Hadad Al Saluki competition which kicks off this afternoon at the Sabkath Marma in the Sealine area off Mesaieed.
The saluki contest is one of the important parts of the ongoing fifth Qatar International Falcon and Hunting Festival in which more than QR2.5m cash prize in addition to cars are at stake.
Mansoor Rashid Al Nuaimi, chairman of Hadad Al Saluki committee, said the 89 participating salukis are divided into six groups and three winners will be selected from each group.
The salukis, Al Nuaimi said, would race at a distance of two kilometers, adding the committee has ensured security and safety for the participants and the audience who would follow the race.
Salukis are known for their ability to run for a long distance at high speed and a keen sense of smell.
Before the start of the race a gazelle is placed at the back of an SUV which serves as a lure for the salukis to chase. The SUV then runs at high speed while salukis run after it as onlookers follow the race in their SUVs at the right side of the race track.
Three qualifiers will be selected from each group, making a total of 18 finalists to qualify for the top prizes.
Meanwhile, the fourth group for the Hadad challenge which was not able to compete last Saturday because of the inclement weather took part at an exciting contest yesterday.
Yesterday’s Hadad challenge produced five winners including Abdulaziz Salah Al Attiyah, Mubarak Saud Al Shafi, Tuwaim Mohammad Al Malkas, Salem Jaber Al Marri, and Nasser Ahed Al Qahtani.
Nasser Naimi, chairman of Hadad challenge, said the contest is going according to the plan and that it is going to be the toughest among the categories as many strong participants had qualified to the finals.
Festival Chairman Ali bin Khatem Al Muhashadi and Vice Chairman Mohammed bin Abdulatif Al Misnad received Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Turki Al Saud who came to see the Hadad Challenge yesterday. They gave the Saudi Prince, who lauded the festival for reviving heritage and traditional sport, a memorial shield.
With regard to the Mazain contest, Khalid Saeed Al Sulaiti, member of the Mazain committee said many falcons have already been registered for the falcon beauty contest and that registration is still going on.The Peninsula