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Reflecting back on the UAE’s achievements in 2014, Neil Armstrong’s memorable first words during the moon landing pays a fitting tribute to the country’s very own ‘giant leap’ for its residents.
Across 12 months, daredevils, bravehearts and creative minds, placed the UAE once again in the books, smashing new record after another to show the world, ‘yes, we can’.
Emirates 24|7 looks back on 16 of the biggest record breakers of 2014 that made a name for themselves, and the country, in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The biggest fireworks display
Dubai welcomed 2014 in its own spectacular style with a world record and fireworks the likes of which the world has never seen, across 400 locations, 100km shoreline and 400,000 fireworks.
The city lit up 2014 with a new Guinness World Record that saw a glittering fireworks display that lasted around six minutes spanning The Palm Jumeirah and streaking up the Burj Khalifa.
As Dubai’s 360-degree extravaganza unfolded, the unbelievable display was even visible from space.
However, a tiny Norwegian town of Søgne of just 10,000 inhabitants, smashed the record last month, setting off 540,382 fireworks in a 20-minute show.
Longest bridal veil
Yes, Sharjah went the whole nine yards when it unveiled world’s longest bridal veil measuring 5kms in length, weighing about 7kg, and embellished with crystals and pearls at its first five metres.
The masterpiece was unveiled at the ninth edition of Perfect Wedding Show at the Expo Centre Sharjah, designed by Rozana Hospitality; the veil broke the four-year Guinness Book of World Records held by Sandra Mechleb of Lebanon, who wore a 3.358-km long bridal veil when she married Chady Abi Younis in Arnaoon, Lebanon on October 18, 2009.
Smallest parachute jump
Professional daredevil Ernesto Gainza flew down to Earth, landing in Dubai in a death-defying skydive, while simultaneously smashing a Guinness World Record for the smallest parachute jump at just 35 square feet.
Gainza jumped 14,000 feet with the tiny parachute at the SkyDive Dubai Palm Drop Zone.
The previous record was held by Luigi Cani when he jumped in February 2008 with a 37sqft canopy.
A regular parachute measures 120 square feet.
Highest base jump
Another one for the world’s tallest building, Soul Flyers World Champions Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet took the first leap off the Burj Khalifa, and soared into the record books for a death-defying base jump on the morning of April 19.
Jumping from the 828-metre Burj Khalifa spire, the daredevil duo claimed the new Guinness World Record title of the Highest Base Jump from the Tallest Building, exhibiting their astonishing base jumping skills.
In a resounding sustainability achievement, ADMA-OPCO in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Port Company set a new world record for the most participants in an underwater clean-up (Single Venue) as part of the ‘Dive Together To Protect Our Marine Environment’ Campaign organised on April 23.
Collecting around nine tonnes of waste, a world breaking number of 300 divers using diving support vessels (DSV) with full diving equipped plus dive boats participated in the clean-up that covered Abu Dhabi’s Free Port.
Dubai added another feather in its cap, breaking a Guinness World Records by conducting 8,675 diabetes screenings for Dubai Mall shoppers in just eight hours.
The previous Guinness World Records title was 7,024 tests.
A team of more than 80 nurses were on hand for an eight-hour diabetes screening of mall-goers on May 25, as the One Heart Health Community launched a major awareness drive to highlight the risks of heart problems, and underline the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
Sticky notes mosaic
In May, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) has set a new Guinness World Record for the largest sticky notes mosaic, breaking the previous record set in Belgium in 2012.
The mosaic, which was formed using 300,000 notes, is part of DLD’s ‘Together for a Better Future’ campaign, aimed at raising awareness about autism in the UAE.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Head of DLD said: “Once the mosaic had been completed and we could see the ‘Autism awareness Ribbon’ that runs through it, as well as the ‘Together for a Better Future’ slogan, we felt the true value of our success.”
The memo-style pieces of paper were affixed to 300 separate boards, each board measuring 2.8 metres by 97.5 centimetres.
Tennis ball mosaic
Why stop at sticky notes, when you can have a ball making a new Guinness World Record?
In September, Dubai was successful at creating a new record after merging over 2,327 tennis balls to create the world’s largest tennis ball mosaic.
The record to beat was 500.
The mosaic was installed on the 3,800 square metres Events Arena lawn of Jumeirah Beach Hotel, with the mosaic design mirroring the three-finger Expo 2020 victory sign of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
To mark this special occasion and congratulate Dubai on breaking the Guinness World Record, Burj Al Arab joined in the celebrations by transforming its helipad into a 4,467-square-foot grass tennis court.
Flagging off a new bus record
In celebration of UAE’s 43rd National Day, the Department of Transport (DoT) set a world record for forming the largest ‘bus mosaic’ by gathering 156 of its buses and dividing them into the four colours of the UAE flag, with 39 buses representing each colour.
The department’s workers took two weeks to prepare and paint all the buses, which were stationed in Shahama parking yard, about 45km away from the city.
Saeed Al Hameli, adviser to the executive director of surface transport sector and chairman of events committee at the DoT, said the department set the record to increase awareness of the role and importance of public transport.
According to the DoT, the completed flag was 36.6 metres long and 145.3 metres wide.
Luxury car parade
Dubai steered course to set a new Guinness World Record with the participation of 58 brands of luxury cars in a 3.2km parade.
The Dubai Grand Parade was led by the Dubai Police’s fleet of supercars in November.
The procession included classic and some modified vehicles, many of which had been decorated in the colours of the UAE flag, on the occasion of the country’s 43rd National Day.
Bugatti, Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Aston Martin, were some of the brands on display.
The super, luxury and classic cars and bikes parade began at Meydan and travelled through Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard in Downtown Dubai to Burj Al Arab and back to Meydan.
Longest selfie relay
And as Dubai was breaking the luxury cars record attempt, the organisers of the Dubai Motor Festival decided to one up the newsmakers and create a relay chain to record the longest selfie relay.
The Guinness World Record now stands at 289 people getting trigger happy at Meydan on November 28.
Longest flag banner
The UAE National Day saw another Guinness World Record smashed for the most people carrying a flag banner with a participation of 2,139 Emirati students from the Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute, ADVETI, in corporation with the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
Marking the celebrations of the 43rd UAE National Day, thousands of students walked a span of 230 meters carrying the country’s flag, measuring two kilometres long and five meters wide.
Longest graffiti scroll
The National Day saw yet another record being handed to the country with the opening of the world’s largest graffiti scroll.
The ‘Rehlatna’ or ‘Our Journey’, brought together talents of national and international graffiti artists, portraying giant falcons, Arabic calligraphy and the UAE’s most famous landmarks to compete in the world’s longest scroll measuring 2.2454km.
All the artwork associated with the wall represented the UAE’s rich culture.
Moving convoy of UAE flags
Emirates SkyCargo, Dubai Airports, Dubai World Central (DWC), together with Dubai-based Allied Transport, created the longest moving convoy of UAE flags to commemorate the country’s 43rd National Day.
The 1.3km convoy was a result of teamwork by representatives from the four companies that organised for 43 Allied cargo trucks to be decked out in UAE flags, planned the convoy route and driving logistics, and brought this initiative to life.
UAE pencil flag
The General Directorate of Civil Defence achieved a new Guinness World Record by forming the largest flag made of pencils.
Coinciding with the celebrations of the 43rd UAE National Day, the UAE flag was displayed in the courtyard of the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
The General Directorate shattered the previous record by constructing a national flag that stretched over 1,000 square metres with one million pencils using 250,000 for each colour.
11,022 bulbs light the way
As part of the ‘Stay Strong Campaign’, UAE residents set a Guinness World Record at Burj Park last week, by lighting 11,022 bulbs, which represented the number of Stay Strong app downloads in the UAE.
The event highlighted the need for diabetes education and awareness.
Speakers at the event included ‘Stay Strong’ campaign ambassadors: Abdulla Al Hashidi, an Emirati with diabetes, who gave attendees an inspirational story of how he has overcame obstacles while living with the disease.
Other speakers included Raha Moharrak, the first and youngest Saudi woman to climb Mount Everest and Fayez Al Saed, an Emirati singer.
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