TURKEY

Istanbul swim race spans 2 continents

ISTANBUL SWIM RACE SPANS 2 CONTINENTS

When the swimmers dove into the water Sunday, they were on one continent, but about an hour later, they set foot on dry land on a completely different one.

Over 2,500 swimmers took part in Istanbul's unique 29th Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim, which started on the Asian side of the Bosphorus Strait and ended on the European side.

Russian swimmer Kristina Kochetkova took first place in the women's race, with a time of 54 minutes and 57 seconds, while her countryman Evgeny Eliseev captured the men's crown, with a time of 50 minutes and 58 seconds.

Some 2,277 swimmers from 49 countries swam the course, which started at Kanlica pier on the Asian side and ended six-and-a-half kilometers (4 miles) later in front of Kurucesme Cemil Topuzlu Park on the European side.

Speaking to reporters at the competition, Turkish Youth and Sports Minister Osman Askin Bak said Turkey is a safe place for tourism.

"Some talk about terrorism in our country, but you see that our life is going on normally. Turkey is a safe spot for tourism and culture. This country will continue to grow and continue to develop its sports activities," he stressed.

He also thanked the Turkish National Olympics Committee, Samsung, and the swimmers for the unique race.

The race in 2016 was known as the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year by the World Open Water Swimming Association.

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