A goal for Gaza: At 2011 Summer Games, 2,011 children set football world record

14 July 2011

14 July 2011
Rafah, Gaza

Kids setting football world record in Gaza

The children of Gaza today set their second Guinness World Record in as many weeks, for the largest number of footballs dribbled simultaneously. In an event organised by UNRWA as part of its 2011 Gaza Summer Games programme, 2,011 children gathered in Kherbit El-Addas, Rafah, to attempt the record breaker.

The event took place just a few miles from the Khan Younis stadium, where two weeks ago 3,500 children broke the world record for the largest number of parachute games.

Girl with football at record breaking attempt“Today, I want to congratulate the children of Gaza once again for their second world record in two weeks,” said Christer Nordahl, UNRWA’s acting director of operations in Gaza.

“As we’ve seen yet again, when given the opportunity, the children of Gaza can be the best in the world.”

"Best day of the year"

Twelve-year-old Ahmed Zaqul, from Jabalia, said: "It‘s the best day of the year. We‘ve been training for one week. We are very happy and proud!"

His fellow record-breaker, Mohammed Abu El Eish, 15, said: "I feel happy and very excited! We feel like we are the best in the world."

World champions

This year’s world record achievements are nothing new for Gaza’s children. During UNRWA’s Summer Games in 2009 and again in 2010, they broke the Guinness World Records for the number of kites flown simultaneously, and the number of basketballs bounced. Not content with this success, this summer the children aim to break a total of four records.

The next challenge will be on 21 July, when children with special needs will attempt to create the largest ever handprint painting.

Boys during the football world record attempt“These records breakers evoke other world records,” said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness.

“The Israeli blockade of Gaza has lasted longer than some of the most notorious sieges in human history.

“Today, there is a crisis in every aspect of life in Gaza. In education, we need to build 100 new schools in three years for these children who have shown today what they can do when given the chance.

"The International Committee of the Red Cross has called the blockade ‘a collective punishment in clear violation of international humanitarian law‘ and has called on the international community ‘to ensure that repeated appeals by States and international organisations to lift the closure are finally heeded‘.

“We endorse those calls for accountability, because we need to lift the blockade and give the kids of Gaza a chance to fulfil their true potential.”

UNRWA is extremely grateful for the in-kind donation of 200 footballs from UEFA, facilitated by the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP).

To keep up-to-date with all the action from the Summer Games and find out the result of the remaining world-record attempts, join us on Facebook or visit our Summer Games section.

This world record was funded by the people of:

 United States
 European Union
 Finland
 Australia

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More about UNRWA in Gaza

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For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Gaza mobile: 0599 428 034
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org

Milina Shahin
Assistant Public Information Officer
Gaza mobile: +972 599 609 485
Office: +972 8288 7213
m.shahin2@unrwa.org

Adnan Abu Hasna
UNRWA Media Advisor, Gaza
Gaza mobile: +97(0)59 942 8061
Office: +97(0)8 288 7531
a.abu-hasna@unrwa.org
 

 

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 68 million.

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