Turkish swimmer claims fourth straight title at Bosphorus races

Turkish swimmer claims fourth straight title at Bosphorus races

Deniz Çiyan ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish swimmer claims fourth straight title at Bosphorus races

Some 1,500 swimmers participated to the 25th Bosphorus Cross-Continental Race. Hasan Emre Musluoğlu won the men’s race, while Evgenia Nikolaeva won the women’s title. AA photo

Hasan Emre Musluoğlu from Turkey received the gold medal among the 1,532 swimmers at the 25th Bosphorus Cross-Continental Races yesterday in Istanbul, marking his fourth consecutive win.

Another Turkish swimmer, Bertuğ Çoşkun, and Russia’s Evgeny Bezruchenko came in second and third respectively. Musluoğlu finished the 6.5-kilometer race across the Bosphorus in 39.13 minutes. Russia’s Evgenia Nikolaeva won women’s race in 43.59.

The Bosphorus Cross-Continental Races has seen swimmers from all around the world striking out from the Asian continent to the European continent for the past 25 years. Rowing and canoeing races are also organized as part of the event.

This year’s races marked a first time that disabled swimmers were allowed to take part. Alper Ceylantepe ranked number one among the handicapped swimmers, followed by Uğur Uçak and İsmet Ayık.

Caner Ekin, the only participant with Down syndrome, said he was really happy to have made it to the finish pontoon. Ekin and the winners of the handicapped category received their medals from Sports Minister Suat Kılıç. A group of members of the Foundation for the Training and Protection of Mentally Handicapped Children (ZİÇEV) was at the finish point to support Ekin. “Caner Ekin is our child,” a member of the ZİÇEV group shouted.

Andrea Cadili Rispi, a disabled and blind Italian swimmer, was among the participants of the races, who attended the event from Genoa, Italy. Rispi explained that he swam together with his trainer, Davide Sanguineti, who was tied to Rispi with a special cord and swam in front of him to show the direction. Rispi said he had been swimming since 2002 but had started racing in 2008. “Today’s the best day of my life,” Rispi said, still shivering from the cold waters of the Bosphorus. He finished in 50.04, while adding that it was not the timing but the experience of swimming in the Bosphorus that was important for him.

Strong currents

Sanguineti, Rispi’s trainer, said the hardest thing for him during the race was changing directions while also struggling with the very strong currents.

Australian Olympic legend Ian Thorpe, who was in the Bosphorus for a show swim on July 6, told the Hürriyet Daily News that it was a great experience for him to have swum in the Bosphorus, referring to it as “another tick off the bucket list.”

“Thorpedo” said that even though he only swam a short distance, it was really hard to swim against the current and in a sea that was so cold. The 10-time Olympic medalist was shivering even 15 minutes after emerging from the Bosphorus.

A particular highlight of the day was when the swimmers began chanting slogans, “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance,” while on the boats heading for the starting destination. The slogans were chanted in solidarity with the anti-government Gezi Park protests, which have been ongoing across the country since the end May.