Guinness World Records this week celebrates the 18th annual Guinness World Records Day, following the theme of Super Skills, as record-breaking hopefuls from across the globe put on a jaw-dropping display of dedication, persistence and elite-level talent.

In the Middle East, experienced gymnast Ayoub Touabe smashed the Guinness World Records title for the Most Single-Leg Backward Somersaults in 30 seconds with 12, breaking a new, never-previously-attempted world record.

A somersault is a movement in gymnastics in which a person flips in a complete revolution along the ground or in the air bringing the feet over the head.

Ayoub is said to be among the few people globally able to do this movement on a consecutive basis. In fact, the movement puts a lot of pressure on a single leg plus the lower back, making it very challenging even for experienced gymnasts. Ayoub, a Moroccan national based in Qatar, managed to set a world record at the age of 32.

Long journey, multiple injuries

Ayoub started his journey by mimicking his father’s gymnastic moves in 1998 at the age of eight years old. He started professional training at a later age, suffering from multiple injuries and hardly sparing any part of his body.

I managed to do my first somersault in 2009, but it took me another 18 months to do another one consecutively. By 2011, I uploaded a video on YouTube doing ten consecutively. After thorough research, I realised there is no one globally who can do as many.

Ayoub is currently training people to do gymnastics. His most experienced student has managed to do their first somersault. He adds:

The moment you realise how to balance and work out your back flexibility and leg stability is when you know how to do it. I am five feet, eight inches tall and weigh 89-kg, which makes somersaults physically very challenging.

Ayoub’s goal now is to teach more people the value of doing sports and stand against society’s resistance to sports. Throughout the years, he shared that he was told multiple times to give up his sports career and focus on his university degree, but he refused. Today, with a Guinness World Records title, he said he’s glad he did not give up.

Most single leg backward somersaults in 30 seconds by 32-year-old Ayoub Touabe
32-year-old Ayoub Touabe as he did his record-breaking somersaults 

First held in 2004 to celebrate Guinness World Records becoming the best-selling copyright book of all time, GWR Day has inspired a number of iconic record-breaking achievements. This year, over 1,000 applications were received from aspiring record-breakers from across the world, hoping to attempt new records and secure their place in the next edition of the book.

Other Guinness World Records titles attempted to celebrate the day:

  • (MENA) The farthest basketball shot hit from the ground with the hand

A story of a 50-year-old man with a disability who has been trying to break the record for five years. Alireza Sadeghi Barzani (Iran) managed to set the record at 15 metres, creating a heart-warming moment for his family and friends during an attempt that took place in Dubai in the presence of an Official Adjudicator from the Guinness World Records who described the moment as one of the most emotional adjudications of his career. 

  • (UK) Most consecutive cars jumped over on a pogo stick​
  • (CHN) Most consecutive breakdance air flares (male)
  • (CHN) Most consecutive breakdance air flares (female)
  • (CHN) Fastest time to complete 10 Maradona seven football tricks
  • (CHN) Most rope skips while keeping football in the air with head in 30 sec (male)
  • (CHN) Most basketball three-pointers in one minute
  • (JPN) Most stick Bs in 30 sec
  • (AUS) Most cars pulled with the teeth (male)
  • (AUS) Most cars pulled by an individual (upper body)
  • (AUS) Most cars pulled by an individual (male)

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