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Tightrope Walk in Beijing Breaks Guinness World Record

Uygur acrobat Ahdili's tightrope walking adventure came to a jubilant milestone yesterday morning after living on a wire 35 meters above the ground for 22 days to break the Guinness World Record set by a Canadian.

The superman, who walked and performed for 110 hours on the rope, decided to continue his feat until Saturday to challenge his utmost ability and set a magnificent new record. According to the original schedule, he should have returned to the ground yesterday after surpassing the record, 21 days.

Ahdili yesterday received certification from Guinness headquarters of setting a new Guinness record of continually walking on the tightrope for the longest time -- eight hours and 12 minutes.

The Ahdili Foundation was established yesterday to finance those who devote themselves to challenging human's ultimate abilities. The first batch of funds, 1 million yuan (US$120,600), was donated yesterday by a Hong Kong resident, Feng Cheng.

"My success is to repay people from all walks of life for their close concern for me," shouted Ahdili to the 20,000-strong crowd on the ground. "You are the origin of my courage."

Born in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Ahdili is a sixth-generation descendant of the Dawaz family, famous for their 430-year history of tightrope walking, a traditional Uygur acrobatic act.

During the past 22 days, the acrobat has covered a distance of 200 kilometers on the tightrope, wearing out three pairs of boots.

Ahdili's adventure became most difficult after 12 days of rope walking, performing for at least five hours per day. He became physically weak due to strong winds and rain, and also suffered from loneliness, according to his wife, Yiba Guli.

The acrobat's deteriorating physical condition soon caused widespread concern from medical experts as well as onlookers. Hundreds of calls were received by the organizing committee of the event and Ahdili's assistants.

The event has received around-the-clock supervision from Beijing's Pinggu District Notary Office since April 16, when Ahdili climbed up the tower. It is said to be the longest notarization in Beijing since China resumed its notary system in the 1980s, according to the director of the office, Gao Juanli.

Ahdili's activities in the coming three days will continue to receive notarization from the office, said Gao.

Ahdili's adventure has brought a huge number of tourists to Jinhai Lake in Pinggu District, where the rope walking took place.

(China Daily May 8, 2002)

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