Youssef Al-Bahtini wants to leave the Gaza Strip so that he can enter the Guinness Book of World Records as a contortionist, but the closure of the borders of the enclave by Egypt and Israel looks set to prevent his record attempt from taking place. Two months ago, the talented 12-year-old received approval from the Guinness team to try for the record in Amman, Jordan.
"We received approval two months ago for my brother Youssef to participate in the Guinness World Records competition in Jordan," said Mohammad Al-Bahtini, 21. "Since then, we have been trying to leave Gaza, but the crossings are closed, into Egypt and into Israel."
The administrators of the Guinness World Records are aware of the difficulties faced by potential record-breakers from Gaza, added Mohammad. They have not fixed a date for the record attempt by young Youssef, but are willing to wait until he can leave the besieged territory.
Although the Egyptian authorities open the Rafah Border Crossing occasionally for humanitarian purposes, it is usually closed except for essential travel. Nevertheless, the Bahtini family hope that the talented Youssef will soon be able to honour Palestine and show his skills to the world.
This is not the first time that a young Palestinian from Gaza has attracted the attention of the Guinness Book of World Records. Last year, "Spiderman" Mohammad Al-Sheikh broke a world record for twisting his body around 38 times in one minute while keeping his chest on the ground.