Disabled Scuba Diver Sets World Record for Fast 10km Underwater Swim
Faisal Jawad Hassan has set a new world record for the fastest 10km scuba dive.
What makes the record particularly significant is that the 33-year-old Kuwaiti is paraplegic, after having lost the use of his legs in a car accident when he was 20. His record-breaking time for the 10km was 5 hours and 24 minutes, beating the previous record of 6 hours 21 minutes – which was set by an able-bodied diver – by almost an hour.
The record had been a long-standing ambition of Mr Hassan, who learned to scuba dive to assist with his personal recovery following the accident. 'After the car accidents I had, the first thing I did was challenging my fears,' said Hassan. 'I chose to learn how to dive. After I dove I felt that I am free under the water,' he said, adding: 'Diving can set me free from sadness and hopelessness and made feel free.'
Preparation for the event involved a rigorous training routine. As the owner of a health club, he already had the perfect training environment to build his upper-body strength. He spent a further three months training in a pool and another month training in the open water before attempting the record, setting himself a target of six hours.
During the dive, Hassan used 26 small scuba cylinders to complete the 10km distance. The world record was set in Hurghada, under the supervision of the Guinness World Records official adjudicator Ahmed Gabar. 'We all feel proud of this achievement of breaking the previous record of [an able-bodied] diver by almost an hour,' said Mr Gabar. 'I consider Faisal as superhuman.'
Faisal was honoured in an event hosted by the Public Authority of the Disabled (PAD) that took place at the 360 Mall in Kuwait, with the PAD general director in attendance. 'Today I believe that the disabled can challenge people without disabilities,' said Mr Hassan. 'The care of HH the Amir for the disabled is encouraging us and we all can have achievements; we all can succeed.'
Sheikha Al-Abdullah Al-Khalifa Al-Sabah, President of the Kuwait Club for the Disabled, emphasized the importance of the event for the disabled community. 'We all know that the Guinness World Records includes rare achievements,' he said. '[Faisal] is a real hero who achieved an international record although being disabled, which is rare.'
Mr Hassan hopes that his record-breaking dive will inspire other people to overcome the difficulties of their disabilities. 'I made people look at the challenge in my eyes rather than looking at me and feel pity,' he said. 'Choose something to do which make you feel that you are a person with different ability. Life can be tough but you have to think that whatever happens it happens for you and not to you. This is why I learned to look at the positive side of my disability.'
Check out the Guinness World Record YouTube video and you can follow Faisal's progress on Instagram @alm0sawii