Robots race camels in Kuwait
A robotic jockey crosses the finish line Sunday at the Kuwait camel race championship.
KUWAIT (Reuters) -- Kuwait on Sunday held the first regional camel race using robots as riders after child jockeys were banned from the lucrative sport following criticism by human rights groups.
Teams from the six Gulf Arab states participated in the race held on the dusty tracks of a racing club outside the capital Kuwait City.
"We hope this sport, which is part of our cultural heritage, will be spared from suspicion," said Kuwait's Energy Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahd al-Sabah who opened the five-day championship.
The remote-operated robots are shaped like small boys.
Rights groups said thousands of boys, some as young as four, worked as jockeys in the wealthy Gulf Arab region where camel racing is a lucrative and popular sport. Last year, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates banned child jockeys.
Kuwait held an experimental race with robot jockeys last October, along with similar trials by other Gulf states.
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