In ancient times, animals native to the region of Saudi
Arabia, were used in traditional sports. The swift saluki hound, named after
an ancient city in southern Arabia, is an old breed of domesticated dog. This
breed, known for its hunting skills, was often depicted in ancient arts and
Falconry is a traditional sport still very popular in Saudi Arabia. Trained falcons can be found throughout the country. In this fast-paced and exciting sport, man and bird work together in precise coordination and intense concentration.
Horse racing is still popular in Saudi Arabia. The famous Arabian Horse, claimed by some experts to be the world's best pedigreed animal, has a bloodline that dates back 5000 years. Beautiful, intelligent and loyal, the Arabian horse is one of the world's most sought-after breeds. Saudi Arabia's modern racetracks are comparable to any in the rest of the world, but betting is prohibited by law.
Camel racing, a desert sport of Bedouin tribes, used to be a big spectacle. The race involved thousands of animals speeding across the open desert. Today, the desert racing rules have been modified and races take place on racetracks. The annual Camel Race instituted in 1974 has become the World's most important and famous camel race. It attracts spectators from all over the world.
Since Saudi Arabia became an official participant in the Olympic Games in 1965, enthusiasm for modern sports has been on the rise. There are several federations that promote international sports including soccer, volleyball, table tennis, track and field and fencing. The martial arts federation includes karate, judo and tae-kwon-do. There are training programs for coaches, referees and sports medicine personnel. Saudi Arabia has three modern stadiums located in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.