Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race connects Asia and Europe for 32nd time
Istanbul, Turkey: Istanbul’s world-famous Bosphorus strait was closed to traffic yesterday as thousands of swimmers from around the world participated in the 32nd Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race.
Hilal Zeynep Saraç from Turkey was crowned champion in the women’s category with a time of 47 minutes 52 seconds whilst Mustafa Sevenay also from Turkey finished first in the men’s category with a time of 46 minutes 1 second.
Turkey’s Ilgın Çelik and Sudenas Çakmak finished 2nd and 3rd with times of 48 minutes 12 seconds and with 48 minutes 46 seconds respectively in the women’s category. Atahan Kireşçi and Atakan Malgil placed 2nd and 3rd with times of 46 minutes 20 seconds and 47 minutes 31 seconds respectively in the men’s category.
The race, organised annually since 1989 by the Turkish Olympic Committee (TOC), featured 1765 swimmers from 34 countries and is the only swimming contest in the world which sees competitors swim from Asia to Europe.
The gruelling 6.5km race course begins in Kanlıca, on the Asian side of Istanbul, and ended in Kuruçeşme Cemil Topuzlu Park on the European side.
It is one of the best examples of sport’s unifying power. Participants experience a unique race and are then awarded the exclusive title of Cross-Continental Swimmer.
This year’s race took place without spectators due to the strict COVID-19 measures put in the place by the event organisers. From start to finish, every stage of the race respected social distancing rules and other public health measures aimed at protecting the health and wellbeing of all those taking part in the event.
Turkey’s Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu, Istanbul Deputy Governor Niyazi Erten, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and TOC President Prof. Dr. Uğur Erdener were amongst those in attendance for the race.
Speaking after the completion of this year’s race, TOC President Prof. Dr. Uğur Erdener said: “The Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race, one of the leading sporting events in the world, provided all of its participants with a unique experience in its 32nd edition.
“Since March 2020 we find ourselves in difficult circumstances due to the pandemic, which has brought many sectors of our economy such as business, sport, arts and tourism, to a halt. COVID-19 has also caused the postponement or cancellation of countless sporting events. Our event, which we have successfully organised by taking strict precautions, has become a source of motivation for organisers of international sporting events and sports fans as well as a source of hope for future sports events.
“I would like to state that this success, for which we feel immense pride, has been achieved through devoted social and institutional efforts, and cooperation. Our swimmers, who followed our public health guidelines, as well as the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Istanbul Governorship, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, sponsors, volunteers and all of the other organisations who have contributed to this year’s race are amongst the architects of this success.
“I would like to thank all of our stakeholders who have contributed to the success of this event, which we hope to organise under more comfortable conditions in the coming years.”
TOC Vice President and Chairman of the Bosphorus Race Organising Committee, Nihat Usta, said: “Through this event, our Istanbul, which connects two continents, brought together people and cultures from many different countries around the world for the 32nd time. It has been an invaluable source of happiness and pride for us to make the name of Istanbul and our country heard through sport with our Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race, as well as to share this excitement during this challenging period with confidence and great pleasure. I want to congratulate all our participants and thank everyone who contributed to success of the event."