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Dubai coach aims for world record-setting 13km swim in leg irons and handcuffs

Perennial record-breaker Shehab Allam is on a mission to make more history


A daring Dubai resident is ready to make waves once again – by completing a world record 13km swim clapped in leg irons and handcuffs.

Shehab Allam – described as the emirate's merman – previously set a global best when he swam 11km in handcuffs at Dubai's Palm Jumeirah last November.

Now Mr Allam, a swimming instructor and personal trainer from Egypt, is raising the stakes for his latest gruelling challenge.

He will dive into the waters of the Arabian Gulf at Dubai Islands on November 26, with shackles on and sights set on more history.


Mr Allam is hoping to smash the current Guinness World Record of 10km set in 2020 by the aptly named Indian swimmer, Dolphin Ratheesh, from Karunagappally, Kerala.


Despite his experience in endurance swimming events, he expects this latest effort to pose some unique challenges.

“For the first swim, I was totally depending on my legs for propulsion,” Mr Allam said.

“But I had a chance to change a group of muscles while swimming.

“Sometimes, even when I swam on my back, it was much easier because I could just move my legs freely.


“Now I will be depending only on the dolphin kick, even when I need to stop and take a rest.

“This time, having leg irons on, it is going to be even more challenging, but I am ready.”

Conquering Dubai Canal

The 32-year-old was also the first man to swim the 25km length of Dubai Canal in 2020, and hopes to set his latest distance record in about nine hours.

Mr Allam has been training every day this year, sometimes up to four hours in the water at a time – and training at night during the heat of summer.


During the record challenge, he will be supported by Dubai Police and Nakheel, the developers that manage Dubai Islands, who will monitor his progress and ensure he is safe in the water.


“I'm always active after every event I do, but I started an intense training programme two months ago once I had the permissions for this challenge,” he said.

“It is very difficult working only on one group of muscle, so for sure it is going to be slow.

“It was only when I found swimming that I discovered who I was and what I was meant to do.

“Now I couldn’t be anything else but a swimmer.”




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