Camel races open in north China

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"The competitions were astonishing," said local resident Mengkebayar. "I came to watch every year."

Han Li, a tourist from south China's Shenzhen, could not stop taking photos. She shared her photos with friends on China's popular social media app WeChat.

When the races began, jockeys urged their camels forward with whips, to the cheers and screams of the crowd.

Participants were from Inner Mongolia's Ordos City, Hulunbuir City and Xilingol League. They gathered for a camel festival including a 15km race for adult camels, an 8km race for two-year-old camels, camel polo as well as horse racing, Mongolian wrestling and archery competitions.

HOHHOT, China, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- More than 150 camels with jockeys on their backs competed in a series of races on Tuesday on snow-covered grasslands in Sonid Right Banner, Xilingol League, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

"It's amazing! All the things around are surprising as I've never seen real camels and snow-covered grasslands before," Han said.

This year's races, the 12th of its kind, attracted hundreds of visitors from many other provinces or regions.

"Camel racing on the snowfield needs courage and perseverance," said Dabuxilatu, a local ethnic Mongolian herdsman who won the 15km race. "It is a competition for the brave and also a fun sport."