The 13th Qatar International Falconry & Hunting Festival (Marmi) is attracting a large number of enthusiastic falconers and visitors including citizens, expatriates, tourists and even state guests.
Held under the patronage of H E Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, the festival is being organised by Qatar Al Gannas Society, and will continue until January 29.
Qatar International Falcons and Hunting Festival, popularly known as Marmi, is one of the largest festivals in the specialised field of falcons and hunting in the region. It is considered one of the important features of the original Qatari culture. It presents various aspects of tradition and heritage and is aimed at reviving them among the new generations.
A cultural association for hunters, Al Gannas was founded in 2008. Dedicated to promoting traditional Arabic hunting, it represents Arab hunters in international and regional contests, organising events and providing support.
The association has the best facilities and equipment required for hunting and encourages research and studies in the field. During his visit to Qatar, Vice-President of Nigeria, H E Yemi Osinbajo, with his accompanying delegation, and accompanied by Ambassador of Qatar to Nigeria, H E Dr. Ali Ghanem Ali Al Fhaid Al Hajri, visited Sealine to enjoy the championship of Hudad Al Tahadi.
The Vice-President was briefed about the festival, its facilities, as well as the most important tournaments at the event. On January 11, the fifth and postponed group of qualification rounds of Hudad Al Tahadi Championship were held, where the group witnessed a wonderful performance, the first of its kind since the beginning of the tournament qualifiers.
After a challenge, excitement and evasiveness, the rounds resulted in the qualification of 4 falconers: Hamad Salem Al Marri, Turki Muqrin Al Dossary, Mubarak Abdullah Al Maadidi and Abdullah Muhammad Al Attiyah. Each winner in the qualification rounds will receive a prize worth QR100,000 to qualify to compete for the grand prize of the challenge — a Lexus car.
President of Al Gannas Society and Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Marmi Festival 2022, Ali Bin Khatam Al Mahshadi, said, “We are pleased with the appearance of Shaheen birds in an excellent manner, as they presented a wonderful performance which indicates that falconers have trained and prepared well, and the results of which appeared in the competition arena.”
The participants thanked Qatar Al Gannas Society and the organising committee of the festival. They said the festival is an occasion to renew the meeting with their brothers and friends who share a passion for falconry and traditional hunting.
The participants lauded the festival and tournaments organised by the society, a great opportunity to preserve the legacy of parents and grandparents. The new site of Al Tala tournament which increased from 1,600 metres to 2km, enhanced the competition, as the falcons can see the Houbara bird from long distance and catch them.
Falconer Abdullah Al Qahtani said he was participating in the festival for the first time with a well-trained bird.
Arab and foreign visitors are flocking to the festival site to closely follow this beautiful heritage atmosphere. Visitors have lauded arrangements at the festival, starting from paving the desert road all the way to the entrance to the site and the platform, as well as hospitality.
Hafeez Salem Al Ghassani, from the Sultanate of Oman, said: “We are fans of the heritage of falconry, and we are always keen to visit the Marmi Festival annually and enjoy its atmosphere.” He said Qatar and other GCC countries are preserving the heritage of falconry and thanked Qatar for the efforts in supporting the hobby of falconry.