Traditional Sports

Horse racing was, and remains today, one of the most popular sporting events in Saudi Arabia. There are modern racetracks in the Kingdom, although betting is prohibited.

Locals have for centuries bred horses for racing and transportation. The famous Arabian horse has a bloodline that dates back thousands of years, and is one of the world’s most sought-after breeds.

Camel racing is also a popular traditional sport. Traditionally the desert sport of Bedouins, camel racing is a major spectacle. In the past, races involved thousands of camels speeding across the open desert. Today, the rules have been modified for modern racetracks, and camel races are held every Monday during the winter at Riyadh Stadium.

Other traditional sports include hunting with hounds and falconry. The swift saluki hound, named for an ancient city in southern Arabia, is generally considered by historians to be the world’s oldest domesticated dog. Falconry in the Kingdom today is limited and carefully regulated in order to protect the game fowl that is the falcon’s traditional prey.