More than 2,400 swimmers tackled the 6.5km course ©TOC

More than 2,400 swimmers from five continents swam from Asia to Europe in the Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race, organised by the Turkish Olympic Committee (TOC).

It was the 34th edition of the annual race and saw swimmers tackle a 6.5 kilometres course that started from Kanlıca Pier in Asia and ended at the Kuruçeşme Cemil Topuzlu Park in Europe.

The 2,441-strong field included 1,243 locals and 1,198 foreign swimmers made up of 700 women and 1,741 men.

Burcunaz Narin and Doğukan Ulaç were the respective women’s and men’s champions after both finishing in a time of 48min 13sec.

The event was organised by the TOC in cooperation with the Governorship of Istanbul with the support of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

Turkish Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu and Istanbul deputy governor Niyazi Erten were present along with TOC President Uğur Erdener, his Austrian Olympic Committee counterpart Karl Stoss and Christophe De Kepper, director general of the International Olympic Committee.

"The Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race has been one of the best examples of the unifying power of sports for 34 years, bringing together swimmers from around the world in Istanbul's unique Bosphorus with the theme of 'Sports for Everyone'," said Erdener.

The race runs from Kanlıca Pier in Asia to Kuruçeşme Cemil Topuzlu Park in Europe ©TOC
The race runs from Kanlıca Pier in Asia to Kuruçeşme Cemil Topuzlu Park in Europe ©TOC

"Today’s millions of swimming strokes completed in the Bosphorus all count towards the spread of sports culture in our country and all increase the sporting reputation of our country throughout the world.

"I congratulate each of our participants wholeheartedly and thank particularly the Youth and Sports Ministry, Governorship of Istanbul, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, and all our public institutions, sponsors and volunteers, for their contribution to our organisation."

TOC vice-president Nihat Usta, chair of the Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race Organising Committee, added: "The Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race brought together swimmers from around the world and their families for the 34th time in the crossroads of cultures, İstanbul.

"Over 2,400 swimmers pushed their limits by swimming in the challenging course of the Bosphorus.

"We took great pride in enabling them swim safely and with pleasure.

"I congratulate all the cross-continental swimmers' who participated in our race and thank everyone who contributed to this wonderful event."