Cairo: French Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ludovic Pouille visited a major Saudi falconry festival where he voiced admiration for the event and learnt firsthand about species of falcons.
The King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival, the world’s biggest of its kind, kicked off on November 28 near Riyadh. This year’s event, the third edition of the festival, features a falcon beauty pageant and a falcon-flying competition for 400 metres.
During his Saturday’s visit, the French diplomat met falconers and watched a group of falcons while flying in the 400-metre contest, the Saudi news agency reported.
Tour of facility
Pouille also toured facilities of the festival, including the use of VAR technology (video assistant referee) in the competition. SPA quoted the French ambassador as calling the festival “admirable and well-organised”.
The festival, which runs until December 12, is being held upon directives from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman amid strict precautions against COVID-19.
The Saudi Falcon Club, the organizer of the event, has allocated cash prizes of SR22.7 million for the festival that brings together local and international falcon owners.
Falconry is a popular hobby and an essential part of cultural heritage in the Arabian Peninsula.