The ‘camel jockey’ saga continues

Two jockeysQatar Camel Jockeys left disabled

The risk of serious injury, disability and death is shockingly high among child jockeys in camel races in Gulf countries, a report shows. Researchers in Qatar looked at 275 boys, many younger than nine and some as young as five, treated for camel racing injuries at a local hospital. Seventeen of the boys treated between 1992-’03 were left with permanent disabilities and 3 died.

Source: [BBC]

This disturbing report struck a chord in me, as last year I got a chance to meet the young jockeys in Doha and converse with them. I’m glad a number of Gulf countries made the decision to ban the use of camel jockeys for good, replacing them with robots. The question now is: Will camel racing still attract as many enthusiasts when child jockey are no longer a part of it? [All images from that trip enlarge on click]

They are off
Nearing the finish

By Natasha Tynes

I’m a Jordanian-American journalist, writer, and media development professional based in Washington, DC.


  1. looking at these pictures make me so sad. the idea that children across the world are used and exploited sickens me. we talk about reperations for peopel who have been persecuted. i think these children should get reperations at least for their hopital bills and the disabilities they will have to live with for the rest of their life.

  2. Over the summer, the stadium at the camel track in Shahaniya was torn down. Training still happens daily, but without the jockeys. Instead,the camels train with fascimile robots on their backs. I haven’t seen the “real” robots yet, I am guessing that they are only used on race day, or perhaps also immediately before.
    The jockeys however, are apparently gone.

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