Team Qatar Channel Swim headed to the UK this week to prepare for their historic attempt to swim across the English Channel, the first attempt to be made by Qatari athletes.   

Logos SponsorsThe Team, made up of seven Qatari amateur athletes, is expected to make the cross between 20 to 27 July. The exact date and start time will be decided depending on weather and swimming conditions, as factors like strong tides, wind and channel traffic, can make a big difference for the team during the journey that will see them swimming for 40 to 50 kilometres on relay basis.

Team members – Dr Faleh Mohamed Ali, Dr Mohammed Al Kuwari, Dr Jamal Rashid Al Khanji, Dr Khalid Al Jalham, Professor Nasser Al Mohannadi, Fahad Al Buenain and Talal Al Emadi – have full time jobs in various fields but they share a passion for endurance and adventurous sports, and their aim is to encourage the Qatari community to take on sports and lead a healthy lifestyle.

Fifty-two years old Dr Faleh Ali, who works in the healthcare sector, organised the team earlier this year after being inspired by a documentary about a TV anchor who swam across the English Channel to raise funds for his community.

We want to prove to our community that practicing sports is possible, whatever the circumstances. All members of our team have busy work schedules and family responsibilities, but they decided to make practicing sport an integral part of their lives. Being a member of the first ever Qatari team to attempt to swim across the English Channel is a great honour. It is an extremely difficult attempt, but we have prepared well for it and we will do our best to make our country proud.’

One of the Most Difficult Physical Challenges on Earth

Channel map engSwimming across the English Channel – also known as ‘La Manche’ in French – is one of the most difficult physical challenges on earth. It has fascinated adventure seekers from all around the world since British captain Matthew made the first successful crossing in 1875. Only around 1,500 solo swimmers and 760 teams have recorded successful attempts since then, with thousands more failing, mainly due to the gruesome conditions, and the strict rules set up by the Channel Swim Association (CSA), the organisation responsible for observing and authenticating Cross-Channel Swims.

The 560-km channel separating England and France, and linking the North Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, is the world’s busiest waterway, with more than 600 vessels and 200 ferries passing through it every day. The swimmers must be escorted by a CSA-certified captain and boat during their attempt, and they will not only need to swim in cold waters that can reach as low as 10 degrees Celsius during the swim season, they will also have to deal with other possible hazards like strong tides, cold wind, waves, oil slicks, jelly fish, fog and possible rain or lightning.

According to CSA rules, each member of Team Qatar Channel Swim will need to swim for at least an hour, and the order of swimmers must not change during the attempt. If one member dropped out due to any reason, the whole attempt, which might take between 20 and 30 hours, will be cancelled! Dr Ali said they all need to be fully fit.

Swimming in cold water is gruesome and takes a heavy toll on the body. We will need to eat special meals during the attempt, that works on heating the body from inside. The CSA rules are very strict, you can never touch the boat, and food will be thrown to you through a very fine thread, that must not be stretched at any moment, if it is slightly pulled, the attempt will be considered void!’

Team Qatar Channel Swim will kick off their attempt on the English side, at or near Shakespeare’s Cliff or Samphire Hoe (between Folkestone and Dover). Their aim is to reach the French side, at or near Cap Gris Nez (between Boulogne and Calais). The exact location will be decided later, and the team will be escorted on the Channel by the vessel Rowena captained by Pete Reed.

The team’s preparations for the historic attempt started in January, and included intensive training camps in Qatar, Croatia and UK under the guidance of two very experienced coaches: head coach and team director Ryan Bowd and channel swim coach Tim Denyer.

More details about Team Qatar Channel Swim available on their official website, You can also get updates through their social media pages: Twitter (, Facebook(, Instagram ( and Snapchat ( 

Image cover: (From left) Fahad Al Buenain, Talal Al Emadi, Dr Khalid Al Jalham, Dr Jamal Rashid Al Khanji, and Professor Nasser Al Mohannadi