Olympian Nida Eliz Ustundag wins 2021 Bosphorus cross-continental race
Nida Eliz Ustundag, a 2016 Turkish Olympian, and Polat Uzer Tunali won both women’s and men’s editions of the 33rd annual Bosphorus swim race on Saturday.
The event, which has been held annually since 1989, is sponsored by Samsung and organized by the Turkish Olympic Committee (TOC). It takes swimmers 6.5 kilometers from Kanlica on the Asian side of Istanbul to Kurucesme Cemil Topuzlu Park on the European side. This year, the race drew 2,465 swimmers representing 55 countries, although no spectators were allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Both figures are well above those of the 2020 race, which drew 1,765 swimmers from 34 countries last October.
“The Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim Race brought together swimmers from all over the world on the Bosphorus, giving them the unique opportunity to swim between two continents in one of the most beautiful cities in the world,” said TOC President , Professor Dr. Ugur Erdener said in a press release. “We are very happy to have successfully organized this event, which provides a lot of positive publicity for our country around the world through sport, despite the ongoing pandemic. I would like to thank all the organizations, sponsors and volunteers who contributed to the success of this year’s race, especially the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Istanbul Governorate and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.
Ustundag crossed the front row of the women’s race in 40 minutes and 55 seconds. Ustundag swam at the 2016 Olympics for Turkey in the women’s 200m butterfly, one of the country’s four representatives in Rio. (That number rose to 11 Turkish swimmers at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.)
The second place in the women’s race was Hilal Zeyneb Sarac in 41:19, one second ahead of Hanna pasichyn from Ukraine.
The men’s race went to Tunali, who moved away from the field to win in 38:22. The second was Mustafa Sevenay in 39.57. The two finalists were the winners of the 2020 edition of the race. Cagatay Alper Ustununal was third for men.
“Istanbul, the point of intersection between continents and cultures, brought together swimmers from almost all parts of the world through the Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race,” said Nihat Ousta, the president of the organizing committee of the Bosphorus race and the first vice-president of the COT. “I would like to congratulate our swimmers who swam between two continents with unique views of the Bosphorus and thank everyone who contributed to the success of the organization of this unique event.”