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Brother, Sister Plan Record Swim Across Malaysian Strait, 'God Willing'

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LUMUT, Malaysia -- Nine-year-old Salman Ali Shariati Abdul Halim and his sister, Zahra Ma'soumah, 13, are confident of establishing a record by swimming a distance of 8.9 kilometres from Pangkor Island to Lumut in about four hours on Sunday.

The siblings said they did not anticipate many obstacles to their swim across the Dinding Strait except for strong currents in the middle of the waterway.

"We are confident of reaching the Lumut jetty at about 11 am because we have looked at several strategies and the suitability of the waterway so that our swim will be smooth," Zahra told reporters after the final training stint in the waters near the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) base here today. The siblings plan to start the swim in Pangkor at 7.30 am.

She said they were used to training to swim a distance of four to five kilometres.

The challenges they anticipate are being stung by jelly-fish, strong currents and whirlpools.

"The training we have been undergoing for a year is adequate. God willing, we will be able to do it. I intend to prove that even females can do what males can. What we hope for are the blessings of the Malaysian people for our success," she said.

Today, the siblings completed swimming four kilometres in two hours though they had to fight the currents.

Salman said he hoped to complete the swim with his sister and enter the Malaysia Book of Records as the youngest person to swim across the Dinding Strait.

Salman and Zahra, accompanied by two coaches from the RMN and two medical officers, will swim without using a cage.

Two RMN Sports Centre coaches, Warrant Officer I Mohd Aroff Omar and Staff Sergeant Jamaludin Idris, are confident that the siblings would be able to complete the swim in four hours.

"We have been training them since last year and so far they have swum 16 times across the strait and we are confident both of them can do the swim in four hours come Sunday," said Mohd Aroff.


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