BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - Uighur tightrope walker Adili Wuxor returned to solid ground with his sixth Guinness Record on Friday, after spending 60 days living in and tightroping across the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing.
Adili, who grew up in a family of tightrope walkers near the silk road city of Kashgar, earned the record for the longest period of tightrope walking at 198 hours and 33 minutes.
He walked four or five hours and about 20 kilometers a day on a steel wire 3.3 centimeters thick and more than 60 meters above the ground, refraining only when the wind was too strong.
“Today is the happiest day of my life. The Guinness record does not only belong to myself. It is a record for all the Chinese people,” he said, after he descended holding the Chinese flag.
“It is also a record of the Uighur Dawazi which has a history of more than 2,000 years in the Xinjiang region.”
Wire walking, or “Dawazi,” is a traditional sport of the Uighurs, an ethnic group native to Xinjiang, on China’s frontier with central Asia.
Adili’s previous achievement of tightrope walking across a lake in Xinjiang was completed on July 5, 2009, the same day Uighur protests erupted into bloody riots in the capital, Urumqi, in which almost 200 people died. Han Chinese launched revenge attacks two days later, and the region has been under tight control ever since.
This summer, Adili lived in a tiny cabin atop the Bird’s Nest, visited only by his wife to maintain concentration.
“The 60-day challenge was very important for me to create a new Guinness record, but my life is even more important. I was so worried that I might get sick during the 60 days,” he said.
In his previous record in 2002, Adili lived for 25 consecutive days above the ground and tightrope walked for a total of 123 hours and 48 minutes.
Writing by Lucy Hornby