Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Camels sold for millions in United Arab Emirates

Camels at the Al Dhafrah festival
Camels are a big part of Emirati culture and history

A camel-racing fanatic has spent $6.5m (£4m) on three camels on sale at an auction near the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi.

One of the camels bought by Hamdan Bin Ghanim al-Falahi at the Al Dhafrah camel festival cost him $2.7m.

The annual week-long festival includes a camel beauty contest and competitions to find the best camel meat and milk.

Camel racing is very popular in the UAE, with many Emiratis considering it to be their national sport.

Mr Falahi could not be contacted for comment.

This is the third year the festival has been running.

It includes the Camel Mazayen contest in which owners compete to find who has the most beautiful camel.

Last year the UAE economy was rocked by revelations that Dubai would default on its debt.

The economies of the desert city-states have been brought back under control after Abu Dhabi stepped in to bail out its neighbour.

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