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Camel Jumping

Camel jumping is an athletic and an acrobatic sport that originated in the deserts of Yemen. The sport is played professionally, or at any other level, only by the Zaraniq desert tribesmen. The sport which has been played since ancient times, is believed to have originated as a challenge between two Zaraniq tribesmen.

Camel Jumping in YemenCamel Jumping in Yemen. Still image from the Camel Jumping Video

The objective of the sport is to clean jump a group of camels that are stacked together horizontally. A jump is not considered valid if any part of the body touches any of the camels. Players compete barefoot and wear traditional attire; but the long attire is tucked in at their waist level to prevent it from hindering during the jump.

Players start off from a distance and sprint towards the camels to make the jump. Similar to vault gymnastics, there is a takeoff mound that athletes use for lift-off, to make the leap. The mound is made of mud and is about 1 feet high. Players just get one try each to clear the camels. A player who clears the most number of camels is declared as the winner, and is rewarded with a cash prize.

There are no fixed schedule for camel jumping events. Competitions are conducted during festivals, and major ceremonies like weddings. Jumpers train year round to keep themselves prepared for these competitions.

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