The Fazza Championship for Falconry – Tilwah witnessed an influx of young Emirati participants, who tried to show off their falconry skills for the junior category of the tournament held on Sunday.
The youngest participant was three-year old Hamad Bin Mijrin, who went to the race course to fly his falcon. Hamad comes from a huge family of Falconry enthusiasts, who have been keeping this centuries-old practice alive by passing it on to their next generation.
The Bin Mijrins have a carved a niche for themselves in the Emirati falconer’s community, as their falcons continue to outfly all their opponents season after season.
Hamad Bin Mijrin was accompanied by his father, Rashid Bin Mijrin, at the competition, who said: “From a young age, he followed me around and copied everything I did. He loves feeding these birds and would often accompany me whenever I would train them,” said Rashid Bin Mijrin.
“Falconry is definitely in his blood and I can see him becoming an accomplished falconer in the future, just like every man in our family.”
The three-year old prodigy won fourth place in the Tilwah category, but considering his pedigree he seems on the course to emulate his father and bag top positions in future contests.
Suad Ibrahim Darwish, Director of Championships at HHC, expressed astonishment at the level of skill exhibited by the junior falconers, who have improved greatly in the sport of falconry within a short span of four years.
“When we started this competition for juniors in 2013, the aim was to encourage children to follow the footsteps of their forefathers to preserve the heritage of the UAE. We want to promote this heritage and culture among the young children as it comes under the directives of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, to do a championship for the juniors,” she said.
The Fazza Championship for Falconry is held in a dedicated facility located Ruwayyah area with state-of- the-art equipment and technology to ensure the most ideal conditions and track the bird’s performance for the most accurate results.
The falcons are often brought to the facility with a hood or a ‘burqa’ covering their eyes that will prevent them from getting too agitated upon seeing unfamiliar faces around, given the reclusive nature of these magnificent creatures.
The race course for the falcons always has to bet set up against the wind, due to the bird’s inherent nature of flying against the wind.
Most of the falconers often train their birds around the same location as the facility, to help the bird become accustomed to the desert surroundings, as falcons tend to fly off if they are taken to a surrounding that is unfamiliar to them.
The Tilwah or the lure is always held at the 400m mark and is brandished by a ‘Daou’, who is the caller of the falcon. A well-trained falcon will fly closer to the ground, which has minimum air pressure and allows the falcon to reach the Tilwah faster.
The ‘Daou’ or the caller needs to spend a considerable amount of time with the bird and make distinct sounds, so the falcon is able to recognise it. The other category for falconry is the RC Airplane, where a lure is attached to a remote control airplane and the falcon chases after it for a 2km race.
The falcon with the highest speed takes home the prize, which ranges from cash to a luxury car.
The falcon needs to be trained to gain more muscle and is often starved for a while prior to entering the race that heightens the falcon’s alertness and gets it to respond faster to the ‘Daou’.
Due to the rising popularity of the Fazza Championships, Falconry in UAE has attracted international participants as well and has made considerable contribution in preserving it as a unique part of Emirati culture.
With three world championships to his name, Lewis Hamilton has had plenty to celebrate during a storied career that has put him well on the way to becoming a Formula One legend.
The British driver celebrates his birthday on January 7, turning 32.
Hamilton was F1’s youngest-ever world champion when he won his maiden title in 2008, until Sebastian Vettel broke that record. He’s the only British driver to have won consecutive world titles after clinching the crown in 2014 and 2015, and the only Englishman to have won three championships.
The Mercedes driver is second on the all-time race wins list with 53, behind only Michael Schumacher.
What’s your favourite Hamilton moment?
Here are the other sports stars celebrating:
1934: Ducky Schofield, former MLB infielder who won the 1960 World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates
1950: Malcolm McDonald, former Newcastle United, Arsenal, and England forward
1991: Eden Hazard, Chelsea and Belgium winger
1991: Caster Semenya, South African middle-distance runner, winner of the 800m gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics
On this day in 2006, Young led Texas past USC 41-38 to win the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California in a thrilling contest. The game was back-and-forth until USC appeared to pull away, up 38 26 in the fourth quarter.
But Young would respond with two defining drives, first scoring on a 17-yard run before punching in a 9-yard scamper on fourth-and-five to put Texas ahead for good with 19 seconds remaining.
Young, Bush, Leinart and Michael Huff would be drafted in the top 10 of the 2006 draft.
Other memorable events to happen on this day
1937: Don Bradman begins his assault of 270 against England.
1981: Hana Mandlikova beats Wendy Turnbull 6-0, 7-5 in the Australian Open.
1991: China’s Fu Mingxia, 12, wins the gold medal in diving 10m at the World Swimming Championships.
2000: Bill Belichick resigns as head coach of the New York Jets, one day after accepting the position.