First, biggest and best: How the UAE went Guinness World Record mad in 2018

From the weird and the wonderful to the entirely pointless, we look at the year in superlatives

Rebecca Jobo, head of The Dubai Mall, receives the Guinness World Record award. The Dubai Mall
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Everyone knows the UAE loves a world record, from the biggest this and the tallest that and the first of its kind.

But the country does have a way of getting itself on the global records map, and some of this year's entries were nothing short of stunning.

This week, The Dubai Mall unveiled the world's largest Christmas bauble. Measuring 6.597 metres in height, 4.689 metres in width and weighing 1,100 kilograms, it took a team of 15 people two nights to assemble and another night to put it up. It topped off a big year for superlatives.

The UAE scored 95 entries in the 2019 Guinness World Records. These included the 77 policewomen who pulled a 240-tonne Boeing 777 as well as a continuous 60 kilometre quad-bike wheelie down Sheikh Zayed Road.

But the India International School in Sharjah broke two records in one attempt, first by creating the largest human image of a coffee pot.

Samer Khallouf, head of the Guinness World Records management team for the Mena region, said the level of co-ordination required to pull off the stunt was impressive – and that he did not believe they would clinch it at one stage.

“And they had 5,500 students to do that, which is quite a big number compared to 250 for that previous record," he said.

After forming the coffee pot image, pupils in black changed into white to represent the pot emptying as the liquid was poured.

Pupils have to change from black to white to mimic the pot emptying. Courtesy: Guinness World Records

The scene was “entirely created by human beings, so they had to change their clothes while moving", Mr Khallouf said.

“Preparation took a month on a daily basis, including changing formations and movements.”

Their successful attempt doubled the previous record, which involved 2,500 people forming a transforming image in Spain.

Mr Khallouf said it was unusual to find governments and police forces taking part in world records, but said that Dubai in particular embraced the concept.

The Dubai Police and Dubai Motorbike Festival break the Guinness World Record for the World’s Longest Wheelie (Distance) on an ATV.
Captain Abdulla Hattawi, a member of the Dubai Police Force, Dubai Police Stunt Team and one of the top ATV stunt athletes in the world has set the new record at an impressive 60km.
Captain Abdulla Hattawi said, “I’m so proud to now be the Guinness World Record holder for the World’s Longest Wheelie on an ATV and to achieve another Guinness World Record for Dubai Police. It was an amazing experience and thank you to everyone who has supported us!” (Dubai Police handout)

Dubai Police performed the longest wheelie on a quad bike, clocking up 60km without the front wheels touching the road.

“It was unusual in the sense that police were doing it, but they were kind of advising on how it can be done safely," Mr Khallouf said.

"They closed the road to do it and it was done by someone who is certified to do such an act."

Sarunas Kezys, from Lithuania, set another wheelie record during the RAK Road Riders show when he completed 36 circles in 60 seconds on his motorcycle’s rear tyre.

Another entry was the team of ski instructors who managed to ski the longest distance while blindfolded at Ski Dubai.

They travelled a distance of 25.1km in 60 minutes, and were joined by two visually impaired participants.

The 18-metre floral Mickey Mouse . Courtesy: Guinness World Records

One of the more colourful entries this year was the tallest topiary sculpture featuring Mickey Mouse at Dubai Miracle Garden.

The 18.06-metre tall sculpture was unveiled on February 25, and is made up of almost 100,000 plants, including white and red petunias, white geraniums, yellow violas, zinnia marigolds and green alternanthera. And it weighs 35 tonnes.

“Another interesting record was the longest zip line in Ras Al Khaimah that was launched earlier this year,” said Mr Khallouf.

The 18-metre floral Mickey Mouse in Dubai Miracle Garden won the world record for the tallest topiary sculpture. Guinness World Records

“And a first-time attempt was the heaviest aircraft pulled by women from Dubai Police; it was the first attempt in this category – worldwide.”

“For this attempt, they were allowed up to 100 people to pull it, but they only included 77," he said. The team pulled the aircraft for 100 metres with a single rope to mark the Dubai Fitness Challenge.

Evaluating a record-breaking attempt “highly depends on the record category itself,” he said.

Dubai Police set a Guinness World Record by pulling an Emirates Boeing 777 plane 100 metres. Courtesy Dubai Police

“Like for the heaviest aircraft, we take its weight from the airport and pre-measure it, and we count the number of people involved, and the distance from point A to point B.”

Another UAE record was secured by Emaar Properties when they performed the largest light-and-sound show on a single building. They produced an audiovisual display on Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in Dubai.

The show was performed on January 1 to mark New Year’s Eve, combining lighting, lasers, an LED screen, sound and fountains.

But for all the fanfare, not all record-breaking attempts are successful, and about 20 attempts from the UAE failed.

“There was an attempt during the Diwali celebrations to have the highest number of people light LED lights in a relay," the judge said.

“They have to be in a single line and light the LED lights one after the other. Unfortunately this was not successful because if one person out of the thousand lit at the wrong time it will cause the entire attempt to fail, so it is a matter of one mistake, and this is what happened."


Read more:

Dubai Mall home to the world's largest Christmas bauble

Dubai Police notch up jumbo-sized Guinness world record by pulling airliner 100 metres

Ras Al Khaimah to have world’s longest zip line in new tourism drive