2020 Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race

Courtesy of Pelin Çelik, Istanbul, Turkey.

Nora Toledano Cadena, the first Mexican woman and the 14th person in history to complete the Oceans Seven, was looking forward to serving as the honorary guest for the 32nd Samsung Bosphorus Cross Continental Swimming Race (Samsung Boğaziçi Kıtalararası Yüzme Yarışı) in Istanbul, Turkey.

But with the global coronavirus pandemic still impacting society and sports in unprecedented way, Toledano will have to postpone her visit to Turkey.

Pelin Çelik, one of the coordinators of the Samsung Bosphorus Cross Continental Swimming Race, knows that swimming between continents is something that few people in the world rarely have an opportunity to do.

But the race offers that dramatic possibility to thousands of people every year.

The National Olympic Committee of Turkey has expanded the 6.5 km point-to-point traverse of the Istanbul Strait from 68 swimmers in 1989 to nearly 5,000 applicants from 52 countries from all walks of life. Boat traffic in the strait is stopped once per year on race day when people challenge themselves against shifting currents and tidal flows with logistics and a wide safety net at their protection. The 2,200 swimmers were scheduled to participate in a cross-continental swim from the Asian continent to the European continents organized by the Türkiye Milli Olimpiyat Komitesi on July 12th.

Çelik and her colleagues issued the following statement on the 2020 Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race:

Dear participants,

We together are living in uncertain and unprecedented times due to COVID-19 pandemic.

We are closely monitoring the changing health situation at home and abroad and continually assessing its impact on the 2020 Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race.

Reiterating our commitment to delivering the Race, we are considering different contingency plans, including postponement, but not a cancellation. Given the fluidity of the situation and that with more than three months to go, we believe taking any final decision at this stage, would be premature. However, please be assured that prioritising your health and of those involved, will be at the core of any decisions we will make.

Being aware that this announcement leaves many of your questions open, but we hope to remedy that through trustworthy data-driven decisions in the second half of April.

Until then, we wish you and all humanity health and wellbeing.

For the impact of the coronavirus around the world on other open water swimming events scheduled to be held, read below:

* COVID-19’s Impact On Channel Swimming In Hawaii
* COVID-19’s Impact On Crossings Of The Strait of Gibraltar
* Coastal Coronavirus Closures
* COVID-19’s Impact On Arizona And New York Open Water
* 2nd Olympic Qualifier in Fukuoka, Japan
* The Cork Distance Week Scheduled For July
* COVID-19’s Impact On The Open Water In Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga
* IOC, Tokyo Turns Back On 2020 Olympics, Looks Towards 2021
* Pádraig Mallon On Swimming In Unchartered Waters
* Swim Miami Postponed. Embrace Different Opportunities
* The Impact Of COVID-19 On The Channels

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