• KSA-based and international falconers will compete for record total prize pot of SAR 60m ($16m) at AlUla’s Mughayra Heritage Sports Village from December 28th to January 5th
  • Nine-day spectacle follows AlUla’s recent hosting of Horseback Archery World Cup & Tent Pegging World Championships and will attract residents plus tourists eager to discover heritage sports

ALULA, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — As part of its goal to conserve and celebrate traditional heritage sports that have deep roots in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the region, and further afield, the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) will host the first-ever AlUla Falcon Cup.

Saudi-based and international falconers compete for a record total prize pot of SAR 60m at the first-ever AlUla Falcon Cup.

The landmark sporting event, taking place at AlUla’s Mughayra Heritage Sports Village from December 28th to January 5th, will promote the rich history, carefully practiced skills, and important traditions of falconry to a global audience of visiting falconers and tourists, as well as members of the AlUla community.

The inaugural AlUla Falcon Cup has already set records within the sport by offering an unprecedented total prize pot of SAR60m ($16m), which will be awarded to the winners of various categories and contests, including racing, hunting, and beauty competitions. During races, falcons are timed using high-tech sensors that record their speed and performance. Beauty competitions assess each bird according to certain criteria, with the winner receiving the highest rating from the judges.

Highlights of the AlUla Falcon Cup will include the Falcon Race Competition, held daily between 8am and 5pm, and the ‘best of breed’ Falcon Mazayen show or Falcon beauty pageant, which will take place from January 2 to January 4 from 8pm to 10pm.

The event follows AlUla’s successful hosting of the Horseback Archery World Cup & Tent Pegging World Championships at the AlFursan Equestrian Village in November. Held in partnership the Saudi Arabia Equestrian Federation (SAEF) and World Horseback Archery Federation (WHAF), the international event further showcased AlUla as a hub for traditional equestrian and heritage sports, which aligns with RCU’s long-term ambition to diversify the economy and celebrate the customs and culture of northwest Arabia.

The success of these events complements annual heritage sports competitions such as the AlUla Camel Cup, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup, and the Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo tournament, which each attract a large and loyal following of local and international spectators as well as competitors to AlUla.

Falconry, along with equestrian sports, enjoys a long history in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is the ancestral home of the Arabian horse breed, with horse riding an integral part of Saudi culture and sport. Practiced for centuries, falconry has long been an essential part of life across the region. Today, these birds of prey are primarily trained for contests, with falconers showcasing their command of their birds by applying ancient techniques that have been used for generations.

An opportunity to showcase Saudi identity as well as AlUla’s growing status as the premier destination for heritage sport and competitions, the AlUla Falcon Cup will host competitors from neighbouring countries and further afield, while spectators can also enjoy a variety of activities, with Mughayra Heritage Sports Village offering a vibrant, immersive, and family friendly experience.

Ziad Al Suhaibani, RCU Chief of sport said: “Our community in AlUla, as well as people from across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, share a deep passion for traditional sports such as falconry, horseback riding, camel racing and more. Enjoyed nowadays for the spectacle, thrills, and skills on display, heritage sports were once vital to life around the region. By celebrating their enduring appeal, RCU is strengthening AlUla’s status as the premier destination to promote the culture, customs, and legacy of our ancestors.

“The inaugural AlUla Falcon Cup will be nine days of spectacular action showcasing the unique bond that can exist between birds and human, with some of the most talented falconers and beautiful falcons on show. While the addition of a total prize pot of SAR60m ($16m), which is unprecedented in the sport of falconry, will add another level of excitement to the contest.”

The official X hashtags for the AlUla Falcon Cup are #AlUlaFalconCup and كأس_العلا_للصقور#. Follow the Royal Commission for AlUla on X for the latest updates @RCU_SA.

Noted for editors: 

It is always AlUla / not Al-Ula

About the Royal Commission for AlUla

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) was established by royal decree in July 2017 to preserve and develop AlUla, a region of outstanding natural and cultural significance in north-west Saudi Arabia. RCU’s long-term plan outlines a responsible, sustainable, and sensitive approach to urban and economic development that preserves the area’s natural and historic heritage while establishing AlUla as a desirable location to live, work, and visit. This encompasses a broad range of initiatives across archaeology, tourism, culture, education, and the arts, reflecting a commitment to meeting the economic diversification, local community empowerment, and heritage preservation priorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 programme.

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Saudi-based and international falconers compete for a record total prize pot of SAR 60m at the first-ever AlUla Falcon Cup.

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