Some 2,465 swimmers took part in the 2021 Cross-Continental Swimming Race ©TOC

The Turkish Olympic Committee (TOC) has organised the 33rd edition of the Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race, with Nida Eliz Üstündağ from Turkey winning the women's contest and compatriot Polat Uzer Turnalı was crowned men's champion.

The race featured 2,465 swimmers from 55 countries, all setting off at 10am local time.

It connects Europe and Asia and has been arranged by the TOC in Istanbul every year since 1989, with elite and amateur swimmers of all ages racing across the two continents and earning the title of "cross-continental swimmer" should they finish.

Üstündağ completed the 6.5-kilometre course in 40min 55sec, while Turnalı finished in 38:22.

There were 668 women and 1,797 men in today's field, with 1,210 of the swimmers foreign and 1,227 Turkish.

Polat Uzer Turnalı, 19, centre top, is a member of the Turkish open water swimming team ©TOC
Polat Uzer Turnalı, 19, centre top, is a member of the Turkish open water swimming team ©TOC

This year’s event was held without spectators in line with the COVID-19 guidelines.

The event respected social distancing and other public health measures.

"The Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race brought together swimmers from around 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 Uğur Erdener, President of the TOC.

"We are very pleased to have successfully delivered this event, which provides lots of positive publicity for our country all over the world through sports, despite the ongoing pandemic.

"I would like to thank all of the organisations, sponsors and volunteers who contributed to the success of this year’s race, especially the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Governorship of Istanbul, and the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality."