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Jul-26-2010 18:24printcomments

Gaza Summer Games Puts in World Record Bid

Taking on world records in an embattled war zone; the kids of Gaza have endless spirit, over 100 photos in slideshow.

Gaza Summer Games
Special thanks to Bassam Nasser and Artist Shareef Sarhan for taking the photos... and also Mohammed Natoor for doing the hard work of coordination all the efforts leading most activities.

(BETHLEHEM MA'AN) - For the second summer in a row, the UN Relief and Works Agency made a visually stunning bid for the Guinness Record Books, gathering 250,000 children in Gaza for what could be the world's largest simultaneous basketball bounce.

Following one year on the heels of the 2009 summer triumph when 6,000 of Gaza's children from 119 schools brought their homemade kites out to the Beit Lahiya beach and set them aloft in the wind, the latest challenge could set yet another benchmark, putting Gaza's children firmly in the record books.

On Thursday, UNRWA set 6,000 basketballs into the hands of its 250,000 Summer Games campers, and blew the whistle to start dribbling in an event termed the Great Global Gaza Bounce.

According to organizers, the last simultaneous basketball dribble was set in 2007, with 3,000 balls bouncing together in Indiana. "We have to await the final verdict from the Guinness Book of World Records which we hope will come in a matter of days. But certainly we know the figures and the chances look good," Director of UNRWA in Gaza John Ging said in an exuberant statement.

The event was part of the Summer Games organized by the refugee agency, which asked bloggers and Facebookers to log on to their site and send words of encouragement to the participants ahead of the attempt.

"They are the light of a criminal war, and the only hope of an uncertain future. So, let bounce those balls!" one supporter wrote. "you can raise the name of gaza in the sky.....with my love ... good luck," wrote another.

In his address to the children, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said "You are showing the world that, if you are given the opportunity, you can be number one!"

Ban thanked UNRWA for organizing the activity and "for helping the children of Gaza show that they can bounce back from adversity and be the best in the world."

World Record squared

Capping off the Summer Games, organizers said, will be yet another world record attempt, this time aimed at topping their own success from the year before.

This week summer campers will put the finishing touches on their latest kites and once again launch them into the Gaza skies. “Two world records in a week is surely another world record in itself,” said Ging.

The success comes at the end of the summer camp season in Gaza, which faced an increased number of threats from forces inside the Strip, which many said came from the Hamas party.

Two arson attempts were made on Summer Games locations, prompting condemnation from UNRWA staff. In her address to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, representative for the US Mideast peace specialist Robert Serry - B. Lynn Pascoe - condemned the arson attempts as "cowardly." Hamas officials denied involvement in the attacks.


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