Dubai athlete swims 10.7km wearing handcuffs and leg irons

Egyptian swim instructor hopes to have set world record

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A daring athlete in Dubai has completed a 10.7km swimming challenge while wearing handcuffs and leg irons.

Egyptian swimming instructor Shebab Allam took on the feat at Dubai Islands Beach in Deira on Sunday.

He hopes that his extraordinary accomplishment – becoming the first man to swim a distance with his legs and hands cuffed – will land him in Guinness World Records.

I feel there is always a big dream to achieve
Shebab Allam, swimming instructor

Mr Allam has already notched-up open water swimming records wearing handcuffs, and was the first to swim 25km from Dubai Creek to the Dubai Canal in 2020.

His new record will now be checked by Guinness World Records to confirm his achievement.

Unique challenges

Mr Allam's latest recorded swim posted some unique challenges, he said.

"I could take breaks every three kilometres or so to stretch my back, but I was not allowed to touch the boat as a Guinness World Record standard," he told The National.

"This was one of the rules, and my handcuffs had to have a maximum 20cm gap between my two hands, but mine was about 5cm so it was much harder."

Mr Allam said in his previous challenge, he was able to move between all four styles of swimming; breaststroke, back stroke, freestyle and the dolphin kick.

Dubai coach smashes world record for swimming in handcuffs

Dubai coach smashes world record for swimming in handcuffs

"It allowed me to use a different group of muscles during the six hours of swimming.

"This time it was just working on the dolphin kick, which was much harder."

Although the 10.7km distance was not quite as far as the 11km swim he achieved in handcuffs at Dubai's Palm Jumeirah last November, it shaved 700 metres off the previous world record.

That was set by Indian lifeguard Dolphin Raheesh, who hails from a fishing community in Karunagappally, Kerala.

Mr Ratheesh has become Mr Allam's closest rival as the pair continue to beat each other's records, pushing each other on towards new feats of endurance.

Family support

Mr Allam said a special treat was a visit by his mum, who cheered him on to witness one of his swimming records for the first time.

His cousin was also a timekeeper for the event, while his fiancee was recording videos to help Guinness World Records corroborate the achievement.

Mr Allam expects the record to be confirmed within two months, or so.

"Everyone from the team was excited to be apart of this. I feel there is always a big dream to achieve," said the 31-year-old.

His mother, who lives in Alexandria in Egypt, came to Dubai for the first time to watch the event.

“When people saw I was wearing handcuffs, there was suddenly silence everywhere."

Mr Allam said that when people saw his handcuffs and leg irons, people started to worry.

"I tried to joke with everyone and say how exciting it all was.

"It's only really dangerous if you're not trained or not used to doing this kind of thing.

"When you do unexpected things like this, unusual stuff where you become different, I love it and it inspires me to do more."

Updated: December 02, 2023, 9:53 AM