A team of seven Qatari athletes will aim for a place in history next July when they make an attempt to swim across the English Channel, one of the toughest physical challenges in the world.
It will be the first ever attempt by Qatari swimmers to cross the hazardous waterway that was only conquered by 1484 individual swimmers and 757 relay teams during the past 143 years.
Details of the ambitious endeavor were unveiled today during a press conference at Wyndham Doha Hotel.
The Team Qatar Channel Swim will include 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.
The attempt will take place between 20-27 July 2018 and is expected to last for a period of 18-20 hours as the seven swimmers cover a distance that exceeds 34 kms on relay basis.
The English Channel, known in the Arab world as “El Manche”, a derivation of its French name “La Manche”, is a waterway between England and France connecting the North Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, and is considered to be the world’s busiest waterway.
Avoiding the dangers of crossing a canal that sees more than 600 vessels and 200 ferries passing through it every day, is not the only hazard facing the swimmers, as they will also have to deal with low water temperatures (14-18 °C), strong tides, cold wind, waves, oil slicks, jelly fish, fog and possible rain or lightning. In short, the channel swim can be considered the Mount Everest of open water swimming.
All members of “Team Qatar Channel Swim” have achieved great success in their careers in the fields of medicine, business, entrepreneurship, Oil & Gas, law and management, while, despite being amateurs, they also recorded impressive results in sports competitions that require endurance like long distance running, cycling, triathlon and Iron Man.
At 52, Dr. Faleh Mohamed Hussein Ali, will be the oldest member of the team. He played a huge role in developing the Healthcare sector in Qatar over the past three decades.
“This is one of the ultimate challenges a human can undertake, finishing it puts one’s name on an elite list of individuals from across the globe and to be a member of the first Qatari team to achieve it will make it more special” he said.
“I’m so proud to be amongst the most dedicated adventure athletes in the country, it’s an honor and a privilege. Each member of the team inspires me in a different way, some with their technical proficiency, others with their pure gut and determination”.
Dr. Ali, who is also a diving and undersea macro-photography enthusiast, advice youth not to think of failure.
“Failures are like bricks, it’s your choice to either carry them on your back to slow you down or use them to build your stairs up to success, that’s my own quote to motivate myself”.
The prospective 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). The team will be escorted during the swim, with an experienced pilot, captain Pete Reed, and his boat Rowena. Both are certified by Channel Swimming Association (CSA), the organization responsible for observing and authenticating Cross-Channel Swims.
The difficulty of the mission and possible hazards are not deterring Dr. Jamal Rashid Al Khanji – a surgeon, an entrepreneur and a global expert in spearfishing – from pursuing his target.
“I am always excited about extremely difficult challenges. Things that can push me to the limit. I love to explore my capabilities and put myself to the test especially with ultra-long, ultra-difficult conditions. I feel that such events make us appreciate life more and push us out of our comfort zone. They also prepare us for the Unknown”, he said.
“I am very Proud to be able to represent my country in an event where very few people succeeded throughout history. I feel privileged to be a part of this team. It’s inspiring to see a group of non-professional athletes attempt something like this even amidst their busy schedules and in an area, they were not necessarily familiar with a few months ago.”, he added.
The team have been training for the big day since the start of this year. The preparations included an intensive cold-water training camp in Croatia, that was followed by another training camp in England where the team also went through a qualifying swim for the Channel crossing.
The Team Director and Head Coach is Mr. Ryan Bowd, an experienced coach with proven results in the field of endurance and adventure sports, while the team’s Channel Swim coach is Mr. Tim Denyer, a world-class long-distance swimming coach, who made a successful solo crossing of the English Channel himself in 2005.
Fadi Barakeh, General Manager of Al Asmakh Real Estate Development, the Gold Sponsors of the team, said “We are proud sponsors. Giving something back to the community is a large part of what, Al Asmakh Real Estate Development Company, believes in; we are, therefore, pleased to actively support Team Qatar Channel Swim, in their new quest to cross the English Channel, trusting and believing that this new achievement will once again position our beloved nation on the international sports’ map”.
Mr. Abdulrahman Muhamed Al Emadi CEO of Dr. Mohamed Abdulla Al Emadi Medical Group which is sponsoring the Qatari Team that will swim across the English Channel, through “BMI Fitness Center” as Golden Sponsor, “Al Emadi physiotherapy Center” as Silver Sponsor, “Regime Nutrition Center” as Silver Sponsor, emphasized on the importance of the competition and the participation of the Qatari team in it, especially that it is the first time for team from Qatar to participate in this competition. He also said the group is always keen to support such initiatives and activities as it conveys great messages that encourages Qatari youth and society to participate more in such sports activities and brings the community together and support the objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030. He also said that Dr Mohamad Abdulla Al Emadi Medical Group will always support such activities and wishes the Qatari team best of luck in the competition.
The partners list for this event also includes Al Kass Channel (Media Partner), Intaleq (Technology Partner) and PRO TV (Communication Partner). ProTV was the Media Support Services provider for the event. All updates for the event and the swimmers progress can be found here and on; the official website www.SwimQA.org; Facebook @SwimQA; Instagram @SwimQA: Twitter @SwimQA; Snapchat @SwimQA.