Thousands of children in the Gaza Strip will attempt to smash the world record for the number of basketballs bounced simultaneously in one of the more novel activities that are part of an annual sporting event organized by the United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees.
Tomorrow, at the Summer Games, these children will seek to break the current world record, which was set in the United States in September 2007. The number of balls dribbled then was just over 3,000, a figure they hope to double.
“I have total confidence that the kids of Gaza will break this world record,” said John Ging, the Director in Gaza for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East, in a press release issued by UNRWA. “With their extraordinary determination and capacity to rise to a challenge, the children here can do anything.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also expressed his support in a video message. “I want to congratulate the children of Gaza for taking part in this great event. You are showing the world that if you are given the opportunity… you can be number one!”
Later this week, the children are expected to set a separate world record for the number of kites flown simultaneously – a record they themselves set during the Games last year.
“Two world records in a week is surely another world record in itself,” said Mr. Ging, “and I invite children everywhere to go to our blog and send support.” He was referrring to a Facebook page set up by UNRWA where, for the past month, bloggers from around the world have been invited to send messages of support and hope to the children of Gaza.
UNRWA’s Summer Games, now in their fourth year, engage more than a quarter of a million refugee children across Gaza in such activities as sports, arts and crafts, theatre and drama. As the largest recreation programme for Gaza’s children, it is providing 1,200 summer camps for the duration of the Games, which run from 12 June through 5 August this year.