Dubai — A Saudi woman has set a world record by becoming the first-ever swimmer to cross Dubai Creek and the Dubai Water Canal over a distance of 24 kilometer.
Dr. Mariam Saleh Binladen, a dentist and a philanthropist, achieved this feat on Friday.
Swimming for 9 hours and 10 minutes, Dr. Mariam battled through strong currents at the entrance and mouth of the canal and navigated through a number of challenges along the way, passing through some of Dubai most striking touristic sites.
After reaching the finish line, Dr. Mariam expressed gratitude for the huge support she received, “I want to extend my warmest appreciation and gratitude to Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), for his gracious patronage of the event, and to the team members who worked really hard over the past month to make this great event a memorable success.
“It was a very challenging experience indeed, given that my preparation time was extremely short — barely one month of preparations to make this event happen.”
Dr. Mariam said that through her feat she wanted to draw attention to the plight of Syrians and also motivate Arab women.
“This event is part of my continued pledge to raise awareness of the plight of thousands of Syrian orphan refugees, who have lost their parents and guardians been uprooted from their homes and scattered across different parts of the world. I also wanted to motivate more and more women from the Arab world to take on sports and use their talents to achieve the unachievable, knowing that nothing is impossible,” she said.
Dr. Mariam started her humanitarian journey in support of Syrian orphan refugees in 2015. She competed in the Hellespont open water endurance swim in Turkey and became the first Saudi female to complete the race from Europe to Asia. In 2016, Dr. Mariam also took part in two major swims in the United Kingdom, breaking further records along the way. She became the first woman to swim the entire length of the River Thames in London (101 miles) in June, and the first Saudi woman to complete an assisted swim across the English Channel (21 miles) in August of the same year.
Dr. Mariam will tackle more initiatives in 2017, working closely with the UNHCR and other humanitarian bodies in support of Syrian orphan refugees across the world.