ZU students launch Al Namoos project to promote traditional sports

19 Mar 2010

4 students from Zayed University's College of Communication & Media Sciences in Abu Dhabi launched a capstone project titled "Al Namoos", which is held under the sponsorship of Al Dhary Holding and in collaboration with Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club and Arabian Saluki Center. The project was organized as Muwadda Al-Marri, Fatima Al-Marzouqi, Khawla Al-Muhairi, and Sameera Al-Hosani's capstone project, aims to promote and enhance awareness to the importance of traditional sports and races in the U.A.E, which include Saluki Hunting Race, Falconry, Dhow (traditional boat) Racing and Camel Racing, which are all considered to be a fundamental element of the U.A.E's cultural heritage.

The launch ceremony which included a promotional video, a photo exhibition and distribution of a booklet on traditional sports, was held on ZU's Abu Dhabi campus in the presence of Dr. Sulaiman Al Jassim Vice President of Zayed University, Dr. Jeffrey Belnap Associate Provost, and students, faculty and several officials from the University.

Muwadda Al Marri a 4th year student in the College of Communication & Media Sciences said: "Al Namoos is a word in the Bedouin vocabulary that means valuable object. The Bedouins always use this word in traditional sports, where they declare it for the participants as well as the final winner of the traditional races conducted amongst them. It has been linked to Arab cultures for years, and associated with traditional sports, which is why we decided to use it in our project, because we wanted to attract the audience and people by choosing a name that inter-combined all the traditional sports under one name".

On her part, Fatima Al Marzouqi asserted that the main goal of "Al Namoos" is to introduce the promotional video to the community, and give tourists the opportunity to enjoy the United Arab Emirates in a different way, since the 4 traditional sports featured in the video which include Saluki Hunting Race, Falconry, Dhow (traditional boat) Racing and Camel Racing, all represent a huge part of the UAE's culture and heritage, and we noticed that most of the promotional video and documentaries about the UAE only focus on new development projects, urban infrastructure and tourists sites, but never seem to highlight these sports.

She added: "We also hope to educate viewers on the importance of passing on these sports to the future generations, who seem to have lost interest in them and nowadays prefer to follow up on car races, motorcycle races and speed boat races".

"Getting information on all 4 traditional sports and shooting the video was the hardest part of the project, as we had to keep track of the actual timing of when these races were taking place to make sure we shoot them live", said Sameera Al Hosani. She added: "We also visited numerous places where people practice these sports such as

-        In Abu Dhabi: Suwehan-Arabian Saluki Center

-        Dubai: Saeh AlDahal (for videoing salukis)

-        Abu Dhabi: Sheeh Shoaeb (videong falcons)

-        Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (Dhows)

-        Abu Dhabi: Al Wathba (Camel Race)

"After conducting our research, we explored the history of traditional sports through talking to Emiratis that have an understanding in these sports. We also looked through books and websites to aid us with the video and booklet. We have met with traditional sports experts that are, until this day, loyal to their traditional sport-background and keep on practicing these sports. We collaborated with Arabian Saluki Center, Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club and people that organize sports events and collected information from them as to how many Emirati locals still practice and are interested in such sports", said Khawla Al Muhairi.