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Al Hosn Festival dazzles visitors with UAE’s heritage sports

Al Hosn Festival dazzles visitors with UAE’s heritage sports
24 Jan 2024 08:47

RABI HAMAMSAH (ABU DHABI)


Holding a special place among the many Emirati traditions on display at this year’s Al Hosn Festival, the traditional sport, Al Mutaraha, caught the eyes of several visitors as they witnessed matches of this complex show of athleticism.

Al Mutaraha is a traditional wrestling sport, deeply rooted in the UAE’s cultural heritage. The sport involves two wrestlers competing in a six-metre diameter circular sand ring. The target is to force the opponent to touch the ground with any part of their body except their feet, without the use of hitting or kicking techniques.

In an interview with Aletihad, Major Fahd Mohammed Al Hammadi from the Abu Dhabi Police Protocols and Public Relations Department, said that the Department’s participation in the festival this year aims to give visitors a glimpse of the UAE’s athletic heritage with one of the oldest sports in the country.

“Heritage sports in the United Arab Emirates link the past and the present, and establish a future connected to the roots. Al Hosn Festival is the right place to let guests and visitors get to know us and our history. Sports heritage is important, as sports form the strongest bridges between generations, with grandchildren connected to their grandparents. Given this, the wise leadership pays great attention to this heritage activity for its role in consolidating the values of Emirati society, which are based on peace, coexistence, and tolerance,” Maj. Al Hammadi said.

He also noted that heritage sports are not only a pastime or a type of entertainment, but rather a “spiritual connection to the past, values, and concepts, because they keep Emirati authenticity present at all levels, connect us to our land, and strengthen our national identity”.

“Inspired by the approach of our wise leadership, we pay great attention to heritage sports such as Al Mutaraha, and we look forward to strengthening its role in society. Every success achieved in heritage sports reflects positively on our society, and on our current and future generations,” Maj. Al Hammadi added.

Visitors, expats, and UAE nationals visit Al Hosn Festival to see daily exhibitons of Al Mutaraha, and more broadly, to learn about the UAE’s rich history of sports.

Ahmad Naem, an expat who lives in Dubai, told Aletihad that seeing the UAE’s heritage sports was a major reason behind his decision to visit the festival.

“I looked at the festival’s agenda and I saw they will have rounds of Al Mutaraha and I was so excited about that. I like wrestling in general, but I like to see an authentic one that belongs to Arabs, such as Al Mutaraha,” Naem said.

“Today, after watching Al Mutaraha, I learned that this beautiful sport carries various meanings and messages, such as peace, as it doesn’t include any kind of violence in comparison with any other type of wrestling,” he added.

Each day of the ten-day Al Hosn Festival, which started on Friday, showcases activities related to all aspects of the UAE’s culture, customs, and history -including sports- which are passed down through generations.

 

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