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RIYADH: The AlUla Falcons Cup 2023 began on Thursday with a total prize money of 60 million riyals ($16 million) at stake, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The event is a collaboration between the Saudi Falcons Club and the AlUla Royal Commission and will run until January 5th.

The cup, which will be held at the Mughira Heritage Sports Village in AlUla, is set to hand out the largest awards in the history of the International Falconry Competition.

Walid Al Taweel, official spokesperson for the Saudi Falcons Club, praised the club’s partnership with the AlUla Royal Commission.

The partnership aims to promote the Kingdom’s falconry heritage, celebrate authentic falconry culture internationally, raise environmental awareness and support local falconers, he added.

Mr Al Taweel said: “With an award amounting to R60 million, this competition is the largest in terms of international prize value.

“This competition includes four tracks, three of which are designated for falcon racing (al-Mirwah) and the fourth for beauty competitions (al-Mazayen),” he said. added.

“The first track will be for local owners and professionals who will compete in 24 rounds for prize money worth R10.4 million. The second track will feature local and international finalists from the King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival. They will compete in 48 rounds for prize money worth SR 28.6 million.

“The third track of this cup is divided into six rounds for elite local and international hawks. The prize money on this track amounts to R10.5 million. The fourth track is Al Mazayen (Beauty) ) has been designated for the competition and will consist of six rounds for local residents, with prize money reaching 10.2 million riyals,” he said.

Mr. Al Taweel listed the types of falcons that will participate in the event: Lanner, Peregrine Falcon (Shaheen), Gir Pure, Gel Shaheen, etc.

He added that the event is an extension of the success of the recently concluded King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival.

The festival was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for the third time in history as the world’s largest falconry competition. A total of 2,654 peregrine falcons from eight countries participated in the event.

The Al Mirwah competition in AlUla starts at 9am every day, while the Al Mazayeen competition will be held from January 2nd to 4th at 8pm every day.

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