Dutch Olympic swimming legend Inge de Bruijn will be the special guest of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey (NOCT) at the Samsung Bosphorus Cross Continental swimming race due to take place later this month.
The four-time Olympic champion will join around 1,000 Turkish swimmers and 700 international competitors in the annual 6.5 kilometres race on July 20, which starts from Kanlica on the Asian side of Istanbul and ends in Kuruçeşme Cemil Topuzlu Park on the European side.
In addition, 15 athletes with physical impairments and three with special needs will take to the water in what will be the 26th edition of the race and will now carry the name of title sponsor Samsung.
Previous competitors have included Mark Spitz, winner of seven Olympic gold medals at Munich 1972, who took part in the event in 2012.
"The Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Races are a very significant event for the Turkish Olympic Committee, said NOCT President Uğur Erdener.
"This is a unique race that cannot be organised anywhere else on earth; a place which is the focus of both the national and international media.
"Each year the race is growing.
"As a result of our cooperation with Samsung Electronics, which has been the main sponsor of our event for many years, the race will be named the 'Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race' for the next three years."
Samsung, an International Olympic Committee TOP sponsor, has been one of the main partners of the NOCT for a number of years, and Samsung Electronics Turkey President, Yoonie Joung claimed the new deal will further strengthen the ties between the two organisations.
"This swimming race is the gift of [the] Turkish Olympic Committee to Turkey and the sports world and we have been the main sponsor of it for the last 10 years," he said.
"We believe that the new name of the race, 'Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race' will strengthen our partnership.
"We are also excited to have combined the strength of our brand with the strength of the Turkish Olympic Committee and Bosphorus brands.
"I regard this partnership as a giant step on behalf of the sporting family in Turkey.
"On 20 July, the swimmers will be swapping the Olympic pool for the spectacular water of the Bosphorus; this makes the event very special.
"We are glad to bring swimmers and spectators such a unique event, in which simply everybody wins."
De Bruijn, who is also a five-time world champion and was named Female Swimmer of the Year in 2000 and 2001, revealed she has fond memories of Istanbul after winning European gold there in 1999.
"I am so honoured to have been invited as a guest of this year's Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race.
"The Bosphorus is such a beautiful location, and the participation of both national and international swimmers is outstanding.
"I have great memories of Istanbul, because in 1999 I won gold at the European Championships in Istanbul.
"I am very much looking forward to watching the athletes swim from Asia to Europe at this legendary event."
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
July 2012: Olympic legend backs Istanbul 2020