ISTANBUL, July 20 (Xinhua) -- A total of 1,749 athletes from 45 countries and regions participited in the Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race, one of the most compelling race of the world in Istanbul on Sunday.
Hasan Emre Musluoglu from Turkey won the gold medal with 41 minutes, 26 seconds in the general category. Bertug Coskun also from Turkey followed Musluoglu and became the second with 41 minutes, 34 seconds. Russian Egor Savchenko won the bronze medal with 42.58.
During the 6.7km of the race, which has started at Kanlica, Asian district of Istanbul and ended at Kurucesme on the European coast, the Bosphorus Strait have been closed to the traffic for three hours.
Once again the most challenging part of the race was the Bosphorus' heavy current that the most of the swimmers have complained about.
Coskun speaking to Xinhua told: "During the last 500 meters, I have overexerted myself. Normally I know the currents very well and I knew that the last 500 meter would be the most difficult part of the race."
He said that he has been hanged in the water for a long time. "Both psychologically and physiologically but I have given a struggle. I have to preserve my mind to continue to the race," Coskun said.
This year Inge De Bruijn from Holland, eitght times Olympic winner and the five times world championship gold medalist gave the start signal of the race. The event, which celebrated this year its 26th edition, was held for the first time in 1989 with the participation of 4 female and 64 male swimmers.
In 2013 the number of the participants was 1,476. This year's number of women athletes was 450 while the number of male athletes was 1299.
The Bosphorus was closed to boats during the course of the race and all safety measures, including ambulance boats and jet-skis, presented in the case of any safety or health-related issues occurring.
The Bosphorus is a strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. The Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles strait to the southwest together form the Turkish Straits.
The world's narrowest strait used for international navigation, the Bosporus connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara, which is connected by the Dardanelles to the Aegean Sea, and thereby to the Mediterranean Sea.