What makes people go to any lengths to find a place in the Guinness Book of World Records? Find out even while checking out the UAE's world record attempts.

"From the UAE, we've had 260 claims in the past two years," says Craig Stewart, Keeper of the Guinness World Records.

The tallest unsupported flagpole in the world (123.1 metres), located in Abu Dhabi.
"These are record attempts that have been officially registered with our claims department – there may well have been many other records that have been made without contacting us."

Stewart said the UAE has made the most claims from the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is next with 98 claims. At the bottom of the list is Qatar with 17.

Successful claims from the last few years include:

Largest box of chocolate bars: It weighed 1,700 kg and was made by Kit Kat (Nestle Middle East) at the Sweet Surprises festival, BurJuman, Dubai, on June 30, 2005.

Largest magazine: It measures 70 x 100 cm (27.5 x 39.3 in) and consists of 188 pages. The scaled-up version of Day & Night Jewellery and Watches Magazine was created by Naiem Jbara (UAE) and was unveiled on October 14, 2003 at Jewellery Arabia 2003, Manama, Bahrain. A total of 150 copies of the large magazine were printed.

Largest paperclip: It measures 3 m in height and was made from solid steel by Obaida Qudsi (UAE) and was unveiled at the Dubai Shopping Festival, UAE on February 6, 2004.

The UAE has something of an obsession with making the world's largest things! In the recent years, it has been extremely involved with breaking world records. It seems to adore everything that is the ‘largest, tallest and biggest'.

Dubai is also set to break the record for the biggest man-made island; world's highest and largest sundial atop a luxury apartment building; world's tallest building; and the world's most spacious shopping mall with the largest indoor aquarium. Dubai could well be on the way to set a record for the most records per capita.

Some world records set by the UAE

• Tallest hotel: the Burj Al Arab.
• Largest prize for a single horse race: the Dubai World Cup.
• Biggest bowl of spaghetti: made by the Intercontinental Hotel Dubai.
• Tallest purely residential building: the 21st Century Tower in Dubai.
• Tallest unsupported flagpole (123.1 metres), located in Abu Dhabi.
• Single largest world equestrian championship - FEI World Endurance Championship in Dubai.
• Largest stained-glass mural: Atrium of Ramada, Bur Dubai.
• Largest human gathering of people of the same name: Mohammad, in Dubai.
• Largest GRP water tank: installed at Dubai International Airport.

What they rejected from the UAE

Recent claims from the UAE we had to reject, according Stewart, include a couple of claims for fastest time to build a residential house.

"We can't encourage the rapid building of any residential structures, as there's no guarantee they'll stay up, and we don't want to endanger any life."

The UAE also had a claim for best computer game. It was rejected because "it is impossible to quantify or qualify – if there's no measurement factor, how can it be ratified?"

Another rejected entry was for having the world's smallest pencil. "It's getting increasingly difficult to judge 'smallest' records, as scientists can now work at a microscopic level to build objects – just recently, scientists made a strummable guitar that was just 10 microns long."

More thrills in store

Most of the records set in the UAE have been set in Dubai, and are usually part of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) or Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS).

Laila Suhail, chief marketing officer of DSF and executive project director of DSS, revealed how they encourage record breakers and makers.

Suhail said the vision to "better ourselves and do unique things" inspires the DSF team to break world records and set new ones.

"We work in close coordination with the people, marking the market trends and public views. The idea must be one that pulls together a big crowd, sees good participation and leaves a mark in everyone's mind."

She said there are a number of record-breaking events currently being planned for DSF 2006. Since its inception in 1996, the DSF event has managed to break world records annually, she said.

What kind of preparation goes into each record breaking event? "Every record requires us to work on a planned schedule. After deciding on the record to be broken, we find out the previous record for a similar feat attempted before," she said.