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Thousands of Gaza kids set unofficial record for basketballs bounced

By the CNN Wire Staff
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: U.N. agency: 7,203 children in Gaza dribbled basketballs simultaneously
  • NEW: Guinness Book of World Records officials needs to verify the achievement
  • "Great Gaza Global Bounce" is part of an annual summer games program for the children
  • Many children in Gaza have been affected by poverty and unrest

(CNN) -- More than 7,200 children in Gaza dribbled their way to an unofficial record Thursday night at an airport in Rafah, officials from a United Nations agency said.

"It was a fantastic day today," John Ging, head of the U.N. Relief Works Agency said of the event. "Children of Gaza once again show they have fantastic abilities, fantastic talent, and all we need to do is help them to realize their potential."

Relief agency spokesman Chris Gunness said the mass-dribbling record still needs to be verified by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Organized by the U.N. agency, the Great Gaza Global Bounce is part of the annual Summer Games program that provides recreational activities for more than a quarter of million children across Gaza.

Now in its fourth year, the games are the largest recreation program for Gaza's children and are designed to bring a positive summer experience for many of the children who have been affected by poverty and unrest.

Children in Gaza, who often have few outlets for recreation outside of school, attend the camps to engage in sports, arts and craft, theater, and drama activities.

The record attempt wasn't the first for the children of the U.N.-backed summer camp. Last year, Summer Games participants set the record for the number of kites flown simultaneously.

Prior to Thursday's attempt to break the basketball-bouncing record, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his support in a video message.

"I want to congratulate the children of Gaza for taking part in this great event," he said. "You are showing the world that if you are given the opportunity ... you can be number one!"

The previous world record for simultaneously bouncing basketballs was set in 2007 at the Hoosier Basketball Celebration in Indiana where more than 3,000 were bounced simultaneously.