Camel racing may be most popular and lavish in the Middle East, especially the United Arab Emirates, but the sport is quickly growing in another vast desert to the far east.
In the Tengger Desert of Alxa League of northern China, there was a massive five-day event featuring over 3,000 camels earlier this month, according to Xinhua News. Activities included a 15-kilometer race, 50-kilometer relay, camel polo games, archery and even a camel beauty contest.
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The China region of Alxa League, which borders Mongolia to the north, contains nearly 120,000 camels, more than 20 percent of the country’s total and ranchers have used the animals to their advantage to bring in additional business.
Camel-themed activities and Mongolian sports fairs such as the event earlier this month have boosted local tourism in the otherwise quite region of northern China.
“More than 10,000 tourists attended the five-day activities,” A director of local tourism told Xinhua News. “It was a miracle, because we had received few tourists in winter.”
While the event in China was more or less a local fair, prize money for camel racing in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates can be more than $2 million. One bull camel was sold for more than $9.5 million, CNN reported.
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