28 Jun 2018 – 9:28
Armstrong Vas &Chinthana Wasala / The Peninsula
Doha: The love of adventure sport and the thrill of extreme sports have inspired a team of seven amateur swimmers from Qatar to embark on a challenging journey to swim across the fabled English Channel.
Team Qatar Channel Swim is aiming to make history by becoming the first ever Qataris to swim across the English Channel, one of the toughest physical challenges in the world.
The team members come from diverse backgrounds ranging from medicine, business, service and legal fields. The group which consists of four doctors will embark on the epic journey from July 20 to 27, it was announced yesterday.
The seven Qataris, aged between 34-52, are expected to take around 18-20 hours to cover a distance of more than 34 kilometres on a relay basis.
The team consists of Dr Mohammed Al Kuwari, Dr Faleh Mohamed Ali, Dr Jamal Rashid Al Khanji, Dr Khalid Al Jalham, Prof Nasser Al Mohannadi, Fahad Al Buenain and Talal Al Emadi.
“We hope our attempt will inspire Qatar’s residents to be active and live a healthy lifestyle. We can all achieve something great by being health conscious,” Al Buenain told The Peninsula.
Al Buenain, a former record holder in free-diving, was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference which took place at the Wyndham Doha Hotel yesterday.
“We will face one of the hardest challenges any athlete can take but we hope to be successful in this inspirational journey. It will inspire our nation and promote sports and healthy lifestyle. It will give an important message – age or career success are not obstacles if you want to take part in sport,” added the marketing and corporate communications executive.
This team will endure frigid water temperatures, jellyfish, and oil slicks, low water temperature, fog and possible rain or lighting on the very challenging journey.
The English Channel, known as “La Manche” in French, is a body of water between England and France linking the North Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. The length is around 560 km and it is considered to be the world’s busiest waterway.
The attempt will start at or near Shakespeare’s Cliff or Samphire Hoe, between Folkestone and Dover, and the aim is to finish at or near Cap Gris Nez between Boulogne and Calais.
British captain Matthew Webb made the first observed an unassisted swim across the channel from England to France in August 1875. Over the past 143 years, only 1484 individual swimmers and 757 relay teams have succeeded in crossing the hazardous waterway, also considered as the Mount Everest of open water swimming.
Founded in 1927, The Channel Swimming Association (CSA) is the organisation responsible for observing and authenticating Cross-Channel Swims.
With over 600 tankers and 200 ferries passing through the channel every day, the swimmers must depend on experienced and CSA certified pilots to escort them during the attempt using vessels also registered with the Association. The team will be escorted on the Channel by the vessel Rowena, captained by Pete Reed.