Gaza racers register Guinness world record in marathon

14:07, October 24, 2010      

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Palestinian officials in Gaza announced that more than 2,000 Palestinian racers succeeded on Saturday to break the Guinness world record for "Most people running hundred meters in a 12-hour relay continuously" inside Gaza city's main stadium.

The Gaza-based al-Jazeera Sports Club in coordination with the British IF UK Charity Foundation organized the marathon rally in Gaza City's al-Yarmook Stadium, where 2,395 racers from all-over the Gaza Strip participated and managed to break the world record.

The event, which was attended by four international arbitrators, kicked off at 8:00 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) and ended at 8:00 p. m. (1800 GMT) in conjunction with a similar event taking place in London. The last participant in the marathon was the deposed prime minister of Hamas government Ismail Haneya.

"This marathon has political indication to renew the calls for ending the unfair Israeli siege that has been imposed on the Gaza Strip for four years," Haneya told reporters at the end of the race, adding "this race shows the brilliant mentality to keep Gaza in mind despite the ongoing siege."

People in the Gaza Strip are creative and have achieved so many good things in many fields "mainly in the filed of steadfastness, challenge and resistance. Today we managed to register a powerful and active presence in this kind of sports activities in conjunction with London and other world's capitals," he said.

Khaled Kalousa, a 16-year-old youth participating in the event, said that he decided to join this activity "to send a message to the world that the Israeli siege should be ended and let us live like any other people in the world."

Hazem Awadallah, another participant said he felt so happy after he and his colleagues managed to break the world record, adding "I hope that the world would pay attention to the suffering of the Gaza Strip population who are living under violence and under siege."

Meanwhile, Ali al-Nazli, director of al-Jazeera sports club in Gaza, told Xinhua that the marathon was decided to be held on the base of the idea of running 100 meters for 12 ongoing hours, with a highest number of participants until breaking the world record.

"1,600 participants had broken the world record for 12 hours in Britain, and then 1,800 participants broke the world record in Ireland within the same period of time, but today we managed to break the world's record with more than 2,000 participants during the same period of time," al-Nazli said.

Holding the Palestinian flag, every participant finished the one hundred meters and handed on the flag to another one. At the end of the rally, some of the participants painted a mural picture that focused on the outcomes of the Israeli blockade.

Al-Nazli considered the marathon "an evidence that the people in Gaza, and despite difficulties, siege and aggression they are facing, they can make great achievements and break the world records. The activity itself has an important indication to gather more support for the Palestinian cause."

Mahmoud Lubad, chairman of the British IF UK Charity Foundation branch in Gaza, told Xinhua that the activity "shows the power of the Palestinian determination to confront the Israeli measures mainly the siege and the military offensives."

"The main goal of the marathon is to show support for the Palestinian people, mainly with the Gaza Strip, which suffers hard conditions under the Israeli siege and it is an urgent call for the international community to help them ending the siege," Lubad said.

The participants also carried banners against the Israeli blockade and called for the world to move to completely lift it. Israel has been imposing a blockade on the Gaza Strip after Hamas movement seized control of the enclave by force in June 2007.

It is the third time that Gaza children break the world record this year. The first was when they flew thousands of kites and the second was in dribbling basketballs. The United Nations (UNRWA) sponsored the two events.

Source: Xinhua


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