Children from the Israel-besieged Gaza Strip have broken the world record for dribbling basketballs, a United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) official said on Friday.
Adnan Abu Hasna, UNRWA’s spokesperson in Gaza, said 7 203 children in summer camps supervised by the international organisation took part in the effort on Thursday.
They broke the previous world record for dribbling basketballs set in the state of Indiana in the United States in 2007, where 3 054 people dribbled all at once.
The UNRWA schoolchildren, aged between six and 15, all stood in carefully designed patterns comprising squares painted on the runway, and dribbled for 15 minutes.
“I believe that the Gaza Strip children managed to send two messages to the world. The first is that if those children are given the opportunity, they will be the first in the world,” said Abu Hasna.
The second, he said, was that they drew attention to Gaza’s isolation and Israeli blockade, by holding the event at the defunct Gaza Airport, destroyed by Israel.
Israel killed up to 1500 Palestinians, a third of them children and wounded more than 5000 Palestinians in the 22-day military aggression in December 2008 on Gaza.
“The event was very successful and the kids all received a complementary gift of one original basketball each,” said Abu Hasna.
“We are all happy. We never dreamt of breaking world records,” said Hanan, a 13-year-old Palestinian girl who participated in the event.
John Ging, chief of operations at UNRWA, told the children that “this event is just a message to everybody that you are brilliant kids and you are the world champions”.