Exclusive on oman's batinah coast

Raging bulls connect with past

GMT 14:00 2011 Sunday ,20 November

Arab Today, arab today Raging bulls connect with past

Rocket Launcher v Snake
Muscat - arabstoday

Rocket Launcher v Snake These are not the names of Spandex-wearing wrestlers from prime-time televised bouts, but the titans taking to the "ring" to showcase the sporting heritage of the mountainous east coast To cheers from an enthralled crowd, the fighters are massive bulls and each takes to a new bull-butting arena, introduced at this year's Al Saif (Sword) Competition and built to raise the profile among residents and tourists.
"The sheikhs have made this new arena for us to enjoy," said Mohammed Al Shari, the former bull commentator who can still be found pacing the sidelines every Friday, teasing bull masters and building up the bovines.
"Men and women, boys and girls, our culture is that we are buying the bull and making the bulls come together but the meaning of this is to be with friends."
The Al Saif Competition has grown this year from simple sword-throwing to a wider festival of heritage that highlights mountain traditions as an integral part of UAE culture, as worthy as camel racing or falconry.
Bull-butting is held exclusively on Oman's Batinah coast and in Fujairah, where the rocky landscape makes the use of camels impractical.
The sport does not injure the bulls, which are highly prized for their cash value as much as the social status they bring to their owners.
Last year's competition transformed the traditional sword dance from a past-time into a formal sport with set rules for spectators, who voted by text for their favourite swordsmen after televised broadcasts. Hundreds of thousands of votes were cast and the finale set a first-time Guinness World Record entry for the highest sword throw.

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بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
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