Women take on camel riding in UAE

By Omnia al-Desoukie

Dubai, Jun 15 (EFE).- Linda Krockenberger has launched the first camel riding academy in the United Arab Emirates this year to offer women training programs in a sport enjoyed almost exclusively by men.

Krockenberger is now training a group of six women of different nationalities at the Arabian Desert Camel Riding Center, in hopes to form a team to compete next season.

A camel-racing team is comprised of at least 10 members; however, an all-female team still will not be able to take part in the race against men for both cultural and athletic reasons.

Obaid al-Falasi, an Emirati camel owner who has been in the business his entire life, co-founded the academy with Krockenberger.

“It’s an unprecedented idea. We wanted to create a school and then a specific female-only racing team,” al-Falasi, who has two daughters and encourages women to take on camel racing through his project, tells Efe.

“It’s our tradition, my family has been long in racing and trading. So why not let people try. Expatriates are keener about it because it’s different, it’s rare and it’s not accessible,” he says.

Meanwhile, Krockenberger explains she reached out to her first students through Instagram, hoping her academy to be known through a word of mouth from now on.

“It’s unheard of and it doesn’t cross people’s minds so we need to create visibility in order to grow,” she says.

Helen Kacnik, one of the team members, says she got in touch when she saw the announcement on Instagram. Later, she had her friend, Sarah Collins, tag along.

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