Sport of running camels at speed, with a rider astride, over a predetermined course. The sport is generally limited to running the dromedary—whose name is derived from the Greek verb dramein, “to run”—rather than the Bactrian camel. Camel racing on the Arabian Peninsula can be traced to at least the 7th century. Although traditionally overshadowed by horse racing in that region, the racing of camels was long a folk sport practiced at social gatherings and festivals. In the late 20th century it was organized into a formal sport, similar to Thoroughbred horse racing. The sport is popular in India, Australia, parts of East Africa, and especially the Arab countries of the Middle East. A race typically has 25 to 30 entries and covers distances ranging from 2.5 to 6 mi (4 to 10 km).
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Camels are often controlled by child jockeys, but allegations of human rights abuses have led to nationwide bans on underage labor in the UAE and Qatar. Recent controversy over the enslavement of children has led to increased use of robot-controlled camels
A major camel race in Australia is the Camel Cup held at Alice Springs. It is held annually and includes not only the camel races themselves, but also a collection of market stalls and other entertainment.