The closing weekend carnival of the Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) also made its way to the Guinness World Records. A total number of 497 people from different walks of life came together to break the world record of the maximum number of people doing jump squats simultaneously at the Festival Bay area of the Dubai Festival City on Friday. The previous record was 471 people performing the act in the UK.
Dressed in fluorescent coloured shirt - worn by all Guinness record participants - Waqas, a Dubai Municipality worker in his 20s, was not sure if he would be able to do the perfect squats. But he and his colleagues were hopeful and excited to be part of the world record. "We have been doing exercises for the last 28 days at our office to prepare for this day," said Waqas, a Pakistani national, who added that he had never witnessed something like this before. He also said that he thoroughly enjoyed the DFC.
"This is a great moment and the reason for its greatness is because it was started by Dubai's Crown Prince with a noble cause to make Dubai the most active city in the world. Today's successful attempt is the best reward and celebration of the hard work of people in the city. What we look forward to is to see people making fitness a vital part of their life and changing their lifestyle. The success of the event was seeing people engaged and getting everyone together - government organisations, individuals, students, private companies. And I think this was the start they needed," said Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE).
The participants were given certificates, T-shirts bearing the Guinness world record logo as well as Dh50 gift vouchers.
Apart from a number of fitness activities, classes, competitions and yogathon spread over an area of about a kilometre at the Festival Bay area, the dragon boat race was a major crowd-puller.
The traditional boat race of southern Indian state of Kerala, was organised by Malayalam radio channel 96.7FM which saw 12 teams - headed by 12 RJs. Each team comprised of 16 members, who were actually the listeners of the radio channel. These included eight men teams and four women teams. "We asked listeners to register on our website and then we selected some of those. The participants were given a one-hour test session of rowing practice before pitting them against one another."
Greeshma, a 37-year-old mother, could be seen rowing one of the dragon boats while her daughter and mother watched and cheered her from the crowds standing on the beach area. "It is the first time ever my mother has rowed a boat and I am so happy to see her have fun. Kudos to Dubai government to have thought of such an amazing initiative that has given us all a break from our busy lives and given us such precious moments of happiness," Greeshma's daughter told Khaleej Times.
The second last day of the DFC journey came to a close with a spectacular water and light show followed by a massive firework display cheered by the crowds.