Extreme Sport

Ok so I am late to these two extreme sports – but in case you are too…

For Bedouin camel racing in Qatar the jockey of choice was once a small Bangladeshi or Pakistani boy (some as young as 4 years old).  Then the desire to eradicate this exploitation led to the design of robot jockeys!  The technical problems; the great heat, the dust, the bumpy ride 40 kph ride and the need for real-time control were significant but nothing to the clash between camel and religious culture.

The robot jockeys must look enough like a person so the camel is not spooked but sufficiently different so that the Islamic religious sensibilities are not confronted; graven images must not created for there must be no inducement to idolatry.  For acceptance by the Saudis “the face” must be removed, when racing in public from the dummy head that is necessary to calm the camels!  The jockeys are controlled from games style consol by an operator driven in an SUV alongside the camel.  

robot jockeys

Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Robot_jockey_army.jpg [25/02/12]  [Image creative commons licensed by the originator Lars Plougmann – 26/12/06]

My second sport – (modern) elephant polo!  How does training on a raised mantelpiece and a Range Rover can help preserve elephants (and other wildlife) and improve education and health in Nepal.  It is apparently that Scotland is (nearly) world beating at. Barking!  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7756085.stm and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7768225.stm [25/02/12]

Obviously, a missed opportunity not to feature either sport at the London Olympics!

Go Google for more details and images!  Enjoy!


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