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Bulgarian champion plans to swim between Seychelles' islands of Mahe and La Digue in October

Victoria, Seychelles | May 16, 2021, Sunday @ 10:06 in National » SPORT | By: Antoine Laporte Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 5184
Bulgarian champion plans to swim between Seychelles' islands of Mahe and La Digue in October

Tsanko Tsankov plans to swim between the main island of Mahe and La Digue. (Seychelles Tourism Board)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - A Bulgarian swimming champion hopes to become the first international athlete to swim between two islands of Seychelles in October, a first of its kind in swimming history.

Tsanko Tsankov plans to swim between the main island of Mahe and La Digue, the third-most populated island, in a first world record attempt recognised by the international swimming federation (FINA).

The attempt would be the first swim in the Indian Ocean for Tsankov. He has previously swum in open water competitions in the Black Sea, the Adriatic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Marmara Sea.

The world record attempt will follow FINA rules and regulations for open water swimming.

"In the accompanying boats, we will have an international judge, accredited by FINA, who will certify the swim. FINA rules require that swimming needs to start on land and end on land. During the whole swim, I am not allowed to use swimming aid (fins, boards or other equipment). Also, I am not allowed to touch the boat, another person, or be touched by another person. There are also requirements for equipment, especially the swimsuit, which need to be approved by FINA," said Tsankov.

Although the Bulgarian swimmer has done open water swimming, he said that each event is different and that the length between the two islands is considerable, and that the ocean around Seychelles has stronger currents when compared to his previous swims.

The attempt would be the first swim in the Indian Ocean for Tsankov. (Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BY

The organisation of the event is being done through a partnership of TourBookers, a German-based digital tour booking platform, the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and TourBookers Seychelles.

Mariana Atherton, founder and chief executive of TourBookers, said that she and Tsanko Tsankov had previously met during a Gala event thanks to the main organiser, Media Group in Bulgaria in 2020.

"I adore the beauty of nature, beaches and marine life (in Seychelles) and have also been very fascinated by the world records of Tsanko. So naturally, these two topics connected easily in my mind and Mervin Cedras (CEO of TourBookers Seychelles) and I proposed that he should attempt a new world record in the Seychelles," she said.

"For TourBookers and SCCI, this was the perfect opportunity to bring together sports and culture. These activities make up for most of the tours and bookings on our TourBookers platform, and we already knew of the great resources that Seychelles has to offer in these categories. Moreover, a world record in open sea swimming in the Indian Ocean is one of the most honest and credible ways to draw attention to the protection of marine life," added Atherton.

The chairperson of SCCI, Oliver Bastienne, said that "knowing how much our tour provider partners and the tourism industry have been suffering from the travel bans of COVID, we thought the world record event might be the perfect opportunity to spark tourism again and thus, support Seychelles in opening up the country's tourism sector and boosting the economy."

At the moment, the world record attempt is still in its very initial phase where questions of funding are being addressed in order to guarantee the realisation of this great initiative, said Bastienne.

Meanwhile Tsankov has started preparing for the event.

"I prepare every day during my workouts in the pool, I spend about four hours a day in the pool and weekly, I swim an average of about 70 to 80 km. Now, in preparation I'm going to swim about 100km a week. So, the physical and mental endurance are worked on every day in my training sessions. Until now, I have swum about 46,000km, and in that light, I am ready," he said.

One of Tsankov's objectives is to dedicate this new world record to raise awareness for the sustainable protection of the corals and the sea life in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

"I believe that it is important to tackle this. Since we are part of the EU, I believe that Bulgaria, as well as our neighbours, Romania and Turkey, are on the right track," said Tsankov.

The event is also expected to put Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, on the world map for open water swimming as a sport.

Mervin Cedras, chief executive of TourBookers Seychelles, said, "The event will be a first and big step in putting the Seychelles on the radar of sports and activity-loving tourists all over the world – a new target group besides the 'classical' luxury and family tourism groups."

This is in line with the vision of the new Seychelles' Sports Minister Marie-Celine Zialor.

"Being an international sport and a Bulgarian celebrity at the same time, Tsanko's media presence both in international sports media and in Bulgaria itself will help to promote the Seychelles strongly. In addition to that, TourBookers will be offering tours to follow the World Record event live and online," said Zialor.

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Tags: Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry, TourBookers, open water swimming

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