I used to love “Record Breakers”, the spin off show from “Blue Peter”, broadcast from 1972 to 2001. As well as interviews with people who held British or World records, the programme would include a feature in which the studio audience would test brothers Norris and Ross McWhirter (founders of Guinness World Records) on their (almost infallible) knowledge of records, and the climax of each show would usually be a world record attempt in the studio.

The UAE has an insatiable appetite for setting World Records. Everyone has heard of the Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building (although eyes are anxiously turning towards Saudi Arabia where work began last year on the Kingdom Tower which will be 1,000m tall). Or how about the world’s fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa at Ferrari World on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, 0 to 150mph in just 4.9 seconds, guaranteed to tear your eyes out if you are not careful (just ask Jo).

Those are a couple of the better known records. Others are a little more obscure, such as the world’s largest tennis ball mosaic, or the longest bridal veil. The list goes on, and on.

The period around National Day in December each year seems to be popular time for record attempts, often involving the UAE flag in some way (“largest bus mosaic of the UAE flag” for example). Last year I understand there were around 16 different record attempts around National Day), although disappointingly I can find no confirmation of whether the attempt at the world’s “longest finger painting” was successful.

To be fair the record attempts are usually part of the publicity campaigns for the UAE as a country, for cultural events such as National Day, or for good causes such as autism or diabetes awareness. Whatever they are for, they are very successful and many people enjoy being part of them.

I always enjoy seeing news about the latest world record that has been claimed, especially the more obscure ones, so much so that I have created my own Facebook tribute page to collate the records together. So if you’d like to see more of the records claimed (and lost in some cases) please follow the link. If you do, please “Like” the page, and feel free to add links to any records I have missed.

Thanks for reading.


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