A groundbreaking attempt; Athletes to swim from Russia to Turkey to support healthcare workers

Turkish and Russian athletes, who will swim 320 kilometers from Sochi, Russia, to Giresun on June 13 to support healthcare workers, continue their training without slowing down.

A groundbreaking attempt; Athletes to swim from Russia to Turkey to support healthcare workers

In the Open Water Swimming Marathon, which will be organized by Istanbul Yıldızlar Swimming Sports Club and coordinated by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with Marmara University, Faculty of Sports Sciences, Giresun Governorship, Giresun Municipality and Turkish Coast Guard Command, ten Turkish and three Russian athletes will swim from the Russian city of Sochi to Giresun on June 13 for healthcare workers who are the heroes of the pandemic period.

In the marathon, which is stated to be a first in swimming, the athletes will swim a distance of 320 kilometers by swimming for 110 hours in the Black Sea waters and entering the water 2 times a day. In this marathon organization, which will be directed by Mustafa Özer, President of Istanbul Yıldızlar Swimming Sports Club, friendship between countries will also be emphasized.


Former Minister of State Kürşad Tüzmen will take part in the Turkish athlete team in the marathon in addition to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kubilay Çimen from İstanbul Gelisim University, Deniz Kayadelen, Burçak Tümay Peker, Ahmet Nakkaş, Faruk İlgüy, Hamza Bakırcıoğlu, Nurettin Ünal, Tarkan Tuzmen and Emre Öztürk. In Russian team athletes, Zhanna Zelenskaya, Anton Vetrov, Pavel Kullinich will swim.


Open Water Swimming Marathon Organization Consultant and athlete, a member of the Scientific Committee, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kubilay Çimen from Istanbul Gelisim University said, “The whole world has gone through a very important process in the time period we are in. Health workers experience the biggest marathon. They work devotedly on many issues and make sacrifices for the health of the people. At this point, we did not want to be insensitive. That's why we have organized the Open Water Swimming Marathon. We will swim from Sochi to Giresun. This will be a world record. It seems 320 kilometers on paper, but we plan to swim a distance of 350-360 kilometers in total. We will swim this marathon with our slogan 'World Health Workers and Friendship’.”


Stating that the marathon has three dimensions as sports and health, management and organizational as well as scientific research, Çimen said, “When we look at the management and organizational dimension, it is very difficult to organize during the pandemic process. It has dimensions such as bureaucracy, staff, materials and logistics. This organization is carried out with the coordination of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The owner of the organization is Istanbul Yıldızlar Sports Club. We work with Marmara University Faculty of Sport Sciences and Giresun University Faculty of Sport Sciences in terms of scientific research. As an academic, I am in that group. I am also on the Scientific Board. We will do cortisol values, lactic acid tolerance, genetic tests and psychological tests of the athletes. As such a stage has never been swum before, it will make a very important contribution to the international literature in terms of physical and psychological performance and research.”


Reminding that the Black Sea is a difficult sea to swim in, Tarkan Tuzmen said, “In this marathon, which will break the world record and be a first, swimming is very meaningful for us on behalf of the healthcare professionals and friendship who have been suffering for the last 1.5 years. I think we will be more mentally challenged than physically challenged. Because physical strength can take it up to a certain point. Only if the mind accompanies physical strength can one go further. I think we are better prepared in this regard. We worked and trained in the cool waters of the Bosphorus. We have one week left, we are very excited. All our team, especially our Team Captain Kürşat Tuzmen and Ahmet Nakkaş, and the 5 athletes who took part in the Anamur Cyprus stage, where we swam last year, are ready for this marathon.”

Burçak Tümay Pekel, who will swim as a Turkish athlete in the marathon, said, “It is really proud to be swimming for the world health workers who are running marathons for us during the pandemic. We are very excited. We look forward to the marathon. I hope it will be a good transition for all my fellow athletes.” She wished success to all swimmers.
Faruk İlgüy, who will swim in the marathon as a Turkish athlete, said, “We started training last year. We also went to swimming during the pandemic process, but then we faced the cold in November and December. In the end, we prepared by working and training constantly at sea, and we still continue to prepare. I hope we will reach our goal.”

Deniz Kayadelen, an athlete from Bakırköy Ataspor Club, who is among the swimmers, stated that the marathon will be a first in the world and said, “We are grateful to the healthcare professionals. They are working day and night for us, risking their lives, to save our lives. To show our gratitude towards them, we will swim from Sochi to Giresun, breaking new ground in the world. No one has ever swum these waters before. It is also a great adventure for us in this respect. Because challenges such as waves, currents and winds await us. I hope mother nature will be with us. This is a marathon that will last 4-5 days. It consists of several tracks. We will swim 320 kilometers. We are a team of 12 people, which includes both the Turkish national team and the Russian national team." She also added that she has started training.


Bakırköy Municipality Culture and Social Affairs Manager Sait Babaoğlu said, “Our athlete Deniz Kayadelen came to us with great excitement and enthusiasm recently and said, 'We will participate in a meaningful marathon'.” Babaoğlu wished success to all the athletes by saying, “We were deeply impressed, honored and happy that an event was held especially for healthcare professionals.”

Edited date: 07.06.2021
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