To bring cultural awareness to World Cup visitors, Qatar held the Mzayen World Cup — a pageant for camels.

The winner, runner-up and third place camels all receive trophies.
The winner, runner-up and third place camels all receive trophies. (AP)

Like all good pageant contestants, Nazaa'a displayed not only dazzling beauty but also poise and grace.

She batted her eyelashes and flashed a toothy smile for the television cameras at the Mzayen World Cup, a pageant held in the Qatari desert about 25 kilometres (15 miles) away from Doha and soccer's World Cup.

Nazaa'a, mind you, is a camel.

Nazaa'a is a majestic creature that overcame several preliminary rounds and hundreds of other camels to win the pageant at Qatar Camel Mzayen Club on Friday.

A doctor is on staff to make sure the animals don't use fillers or Botox to make them more beautiful.
A doctor is on staff to make sure the animals don't use fillers or Botox to make them more beautiful. (Reuters)

The event was sponsored by the Ministry of Sports and Youth, in conjunction with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the local World Cup organising committee.

Nazaa'a was one of 15 camels who competed for the crown, parading by fans while wearing bejewelled collars and draped with strings of gemstones.

“I thought our camel was better than Ronaldo and Messi,” joked Jassim al Kuwari, part of the family that owns Nazaa'a.

The main attraction was the pure-bred female camels.
The main attraction was the pure-bred female camels. (AP)

These events are held regularly throughout the Middle East, where the people have connected with camels for generations.

“This is our culture. This is from long time ago, from our fathers and grandfathers," Al Kuwari said.

"Today is a competition, a beauty competition. We like these camels. We give them names. It’s like a family."

Visitors were greeted by a camel jingle “Welcome to the Camel Competition” and served Karak, a spiced tea with milk.

Owners and their families sat in an air-conditioned luxury tent with red velvet chairs and a glass wall to watch the competition.

Competitors make several passes in front of a stand of fans that cheer for their favourite.
Competitors make several passes in front of a stand of fans that cheer for their favourite. (Reuters)

Make no mistake, this a serious contest: A doctor is on staff to make sure the animals don't use fillers or Botox to make them more beautiful.

Last December dozens of camels were disqualified from the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival in Saudi Arabia for cosmetic enhancements.

The pageant saw several preliminary rounds and hundreds of camels competing to win.
The pageant saw several preliminary rounds and hundreds of camels competing to win. (Reuters)

Then there's the money: The winner, runner-up and third place camels all receive trophies. Nazaa's owners earned $55,000 (200,000 Qatari riyals).

“I have been with camels and their contests since I was a child,” camel owner Hamad al Greissi said.

“Camels were there before planes and cars. They were called the ships of the desert. After modern vehicles, the camels became less popular, but they still hold a big place in our culture.”

There's also a milking competition. The camel that produces the most milk wins 15,000 riyal.
There's also a milking competition. The camel that produces the most milk wins 15,000 riyal. (AP)
Source: AP