Famous traditional sports in the UAE

Famous traditional sports in the UAE

There are numerous traditional sports practiced in the UAE, including horseback riding, falconry, and camel racing. By taking part in these sporting events and activities conducted in the various emirates, tourists and expatriates residing inside the UAE can fully experience the culture of the nation. Let’s look at some of the traditional sports that are most famous in the UAE.

Famous traditional sports in the UAE:

Previously used in the desert economy, marksmanship, diving, as well as other abilities are now popular activities in the UAE. Here are a few of the top sports that the nation has to offer.


In the UAE, falconry is among the oldest & most famous sports. It is regarded as an art form rather than a sport. To train birds and demonstrate their abilities, one must have a lot of patience. As several of the UAE’s monarchs are fans of this age-old activity and have brought falcons from all over the world, falconry has gained respect. These include animals like Ungulates bustards, Saker falcons, Siberian gyrfalcons, & gyrfalcons.

Because many of these birds are endangered, there have been limitations on the retail purposes & importation of these birds over time. Additionally, the UAEĀ Bird Society works to protect endangered species, educate the public about them, and stop the illegal falcon market. Most birds grown today are sold for greater than AED 500,000 and therefore are raised in cages.

Falconry prowess is displayed at events like the Sheikh Zayed Cultural Festival and the World Hunting and or Equestrian Show in Abu Dhabi. Prizes for falconry competition winners might reach AED 500,000.

Camel Racing:

Another ancient activity that Emiratis enjoy is camel racing in the United Arab Emirates. Despite the introduction of new racing and motorsports to the UAE, this sport is still popular there.

Sudania and Omani camels are used in local camel races. Camel racing & riding have always been a feature of important occasions like weddings. More than a dozen race courses, including the legendary Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, have been created in the UAE to global standards, formalizing the sport as well.

For additional information on regional camel breeds and well-known camel racing sites, please see our post on camel races in Dubai.

Racing Horses:

Horse racing and other equestrian activities are well-known in the UAE. Since Arabian horses are among the most well-known and popular breeds in the world, horseback riding and racing are further ingrained in Middle Eastern culture. The famed Dubai World Cup is the most notable of the country’s prestigious horse racing contests. The FEI World Speed Championship, which is held in the UAE every two years, has also been held there.

Furthermore, all of Dubai have easy access to horseback riding facilities. The Abu Dhabi Hunt & Horse Club, Ajman Horse Club, Jabal Ali Equestrian Club, and Sharjah Horse & Racing Club are a few of the more well-known facilities.

Boat Racing:

Ancient water sports are widely practiced in the UAE. For example, teams compete fiercely as they steer their “dhows” toward the end zone in traditional boat racing. Even during the cooler months of October through April, boat competitions are frequently held.

While visiting the UAE, you may also enjoy a dhow boat, particularly at Waterfront, where you’ll take in the sights of the historic district. A typical native wooden boat for pearl hunting and fishing, the dhow. For offshore cruising along the shores of Abu Dhabi as well as Dubai, modern seafaring vessels are now furnished with first-rate amenities.

Free Diving:

Freediving is yet another traditional sport in the UAE. Divers used to spend months looking for pearls in the past. Although pearl diving has been practiced in the United Arab Emirates since the 12th century, its prominence as the country’s main economic activity has declined in recent years due to the growth of cultured pearls.

Freediving is currently one of the most competitive sports in the nation. The Fazza Freediving Championships is held in the UAE, where expert divers from all over the world put in months of grueling training in danger of drowning. They have up to three minutes to stay submerged in water that is 30 meters deep.

A couple of the more well-liked water sports in the UAE are scuba dive and surfing.


Archery is thought to have originated in the Mid East during the Assyrian and Babylonian eras. Numerous arrowheads from the last 2,000 years have been discovered during excavations at Ed-Dur. Many museums all around the nation also display ancient arrowheads.

Archery is among the most well-liked sports in the UAE since it has religious importance for Muslims.

Archery can be practiced by locals and visitors during sporting events, campgrounds, and hotels. One of the best locations in Dubai for archery practice is the Jabal Ali Shooting Club.


The activity of shooting, which has a rich history in the UAE, is the last one. Shooting techniques have become a crucial part of the regional sporting culture as they are used in both hunting and local conflicts. The many Olympic medals the UAE archers have earned serve as evidence of this. Abdullah Sultan Al Aryani & Sheikh Ahmad ibn Hasher Al Maktoum are two well-known sharpshooters.

In Dubai & Al Ain, local shooters compete against the world’s top shooters in local shooting competitions. Female shooters in the UAE are drawn to the Fazza Cup for Saktoun Rifle Shooting.


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