Paternal pride: King Hamad congratulates Shaikh Khalid on the daring feat - BNA

Manama: Shaikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s deputy chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sport (SCYS), has been feted as a hero after he swam for 35 hours non-stop to raise funds for cancer patients.

Shaikh Khalid, also the chairman of Bahrain Athletic Association, achieved the feat of rising successfully to the “Khalid bin Hamad Swimming Challenge” by undertaking the toughest swimming test and crossing the stretch of water between Sunset Resort in Saudi Arabia and the Sofitel Resort in Zallaq in the south of Bahrain.

Swimmers from various countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, the US, Slovenia, New Zealand and Australia, took part in the unprecedented initiative on Friday to secure funds that will be spent towards assisting cancer patients.

King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa, who attended the final stages of the challenge, congratulated Shaikh Khalid “on the unprecedented exploit and praised his determination and willpower to rise to the challenge and swim for 35 kilometres.”

Praising the humanitarian and athletic initiative, King Hamad said that “the honourable achievement was an outstanding accomplishment for Bahrain, an inspiration for young Bahraini sportsmen and sportswomen and a motivation for young people for more achievements and successes,” Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.

The King added that the achievement that started in Saudi Arabia and ended in Bahrain was a reflection of the fraternal links and deep-rooted relations between the two countries and their people.

It also served to build bridges of friendship with athletic people throughout the world, he said, the official news agency reported. Several officials and leading sports figures lauded the humanitarian initiative and praised in statements and cables of congratulations the feat, saying that it reflected a strong determination to confront challenges, to brave adverse weather elements and to swim long distances for the sake of a humanitarian cause.

The challenge was also seen in Bahrain as “an opportunity that brought together swimmers from diverse backgrounds in a show of mutual tolerance and support and in a remarkable display of deep commitment to serving people in need.”