The 31st Bosporus Cross-Continental Swimming Race, a unique event where swimmers have the opportunity to swim between Asia and Europe, will be held in Istanbul on Sunday.
Described as one of the best open water swimming events in the world, the race will bring together 2,400 swimmers from 59 countries.
Sponsored by Samsung this year, the race will see swimmers dive into the Bosporus from the Kanlıca pier on Istanbul's Asian side. They will swim a 6.5-kilometer course to Kuruçeşme on the European side. The Bosporus, one of the busiest waterways in the world as it connects the Black Sea to the Aegean, will be closed to maritime traffic for the event.
Organizers say they received a record number of applications this year and had to choose from 2,971 applicants. Some 1,200 Turkish swimmers will take part in the race after winning qualifiers held in Ankara, Istanbul, İzmir, Adana and Samsun. The other 1,200 participants will arrive from abroad. Swimmers from Indonesia, Oman, Pakistan, Peru and the Philippines will compete in the race for the first time.
The race will include swimmers of all ages, from 14 to 89, divided into men and women's categories. They will compete for medals, while side events, like a festival at Kuruçeşme Park, will welcome visitors.
Marcos Diaz, the Dominican ultra-distance swimmer who has the distinct title of the first swimmer to swim across all five continents in an U.N.-sponsored event nine years ago, will be among the swimmers to compete in the race.