Under the Patronage of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum:
Dubai, United Arab Emirates – 11 March 2017: Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the Dubai Sports Council, Dr. Mariam Saleh Binladen - a Saudi Dentist and Humanitarian - has set a new record, adding to her tally of world records, as she crossed the Dubai Creek and the Dubai Water Canal swimming a total distance of 24km, on Friday 10th March 2017.
The special event was held in collaboration with Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Maritime City Authority, Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Police and Marine Rescue. This event, which is part of Dr. Mariam’s continued pledge to support Syrian orphan refugees, was attended by a delegation from the Dubai Sports Council and other supporting partners, in addition to marine safety, rescue and coordination teams.
Dr. Mariam’s challenging venture began at 05:00hrs on Friday 10th March, starting from the canal’s Dubai Creek entrance in the Al Shindagha area of Dubai’s historic district. She achieved the feat at 14:10hrs, finishing at Al Ghubaiba Station next to the Four Season’s Hotel. Swimming for 9 hours and 10 minutes, Dr. Mariam battled through strong currents at the entrance and mouth of the canal and navigated through a number of challenges along the way, passing through some of Dubai most striking touristic sites.
After reaching the finish line, Dr. Mariam expressed her gratitude towards the huge support that she received and said: “I want to extend my warmest appreciation and gratitude to HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the Dubai Sports Council (DSC) for his gracious patronage of the event, and to the team members who worked really hard over the past month to make this great event a memorable success. I would also like to thank all the people who turned up just to cheer and encourage me throughout the day.”
“I am thrilled and delighted to become the first person to complete a 24km swim along the wonderful yet challenging Dubai Water Canal,” added Dr. Mariam, after completing the swim of 24km across the Dubai Creek and the Dubai Water Canal. It was a very challenging experience indeed, given that my preparation time was extremely short – barely one month of preparations to make this event happen. So I am really happy to have completed the swim successfully, which would not have happened without the amazing support of my family, my crew, my trainer Fiona, the team from DSC, and all the other parties involved in this event.”
Dr. Mariam concluded: “This event is part of my continued pledge to raise awareness of the plight of thousands of Syrian orphan refugees, who have lost their parents and guardians been uprooted from their homes and scattered across different parts of the world. I also wanted to motivate more and more women from the Arab World to take on sports and use their talents to achieve the unachievable, knowing that nothing is impossible.”
The Dubai Water Canal was officially inaugurated in November 2016 and it connects Dubai Creek at Business Bay area, passing through Safa Park, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah 2, and Jumeirah Road, before joining the Arabian Gulf at Jumeirah Beach Park, a total length of 12km.
Dr. Mariam started her humanitarian journey in support of Syrian orphan refugees in 2015. She competed in the Hellespont open water endurance swim in Turkey and became the first Saudi female to complete the race from Europe to Asia. In 2016, Dr. Mariam also took part in two major swims in the United Kingdom, breaking further records along the way. She became the first woman to swim the entire length of the River Thames in London (101 miles) in June, and the first Saudi woman to complete an assisted swim across the English Channel (21 miles) in August of the same year.
In December 2016, in collaboration with IMC Hospital and the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization (JHCO), Dr. Mariam opened a first-of-its-kind dental center at the Al Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan, home to over 55,000 refugees. The ‘Dr. Mariam Dental Center’, which is funded by proceeds raised from Dr. Mariam’s swims, provides crucial cost-free oral care to thousands of refugees.
Dr. Mariam will tackle more initiatives in 2017, working closely with the UNHCR and other humanitarian bodies in support of Syrian orphan refugees across the world.