Tsanko Tsankov, Bulgarian swimming celebrity, eyeing Seychelles for his next swimming challenge

Renowned for its beautiful pristine waters, Seychelles will once again attract international interest on the open water scenes as Bulgarian swimming celebrity Tsanko Tsankov express his interest to concur the title of the first international athlete to swim between the main island of Mahé and the inner island of La Digue. 

Seychelles, the first country to host the Fédération Internationale de Natation’s (FINA) Open Water World Series in the African region, is being looked at to host this spectacular open water event set to take place in October 2021.

Tsanko Tsankov is a multiple national champions and record holder, two-time FINA World Master Vice-champion on 200 m individual medley and 400 m freestyle and Master of Sports.

The event will aim at bringing together sports and culture while increasing the visibility of the destination.

To drive the initiative, a committee composed of the Chairman of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce (SCCI), Mr Oliver Bastienne, Founder and CEO of Tour bookers Seychelles Ms. Mariana Atherton and Mr Mervin Cedras respectively has been set up. Other partners closely involved are the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), the Ministry for Youth, Sports and Family, the Seychelles Swimming Association, the Bulgarian Municipality of Burgas and the international swimming federation, FINA. As the preparation progresses the committee is looking to bring on-board other partners and ensure equally that the health and sanitary measures of the country are followed.

The Bulgarian swimmer is contemplating to make history by undertaking the longest individual open water swimming challenge not only for the Seychelles islands but also in the Indian Ocean swimming 12 hours non-stop and covering approximately 51 km in the ocean.

Aside from the promotion of open water swimming as a sports activity, Tsanko Tsankov intends to dedicate this new world record to raise awareness for the sustainable protection of the corals and the sea life in the Seychelles islands.

Speaking of the project, Ms. Mariana Atherton from the organizing committee stated that the discussions for the organization of this international event started last year in October.

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“We are committed to see this project coming to life. There has been a lot of work done so far and there is still a lot to organize and prepare for this project to materialize.  Being partners of the tourism industry in Seychelles, we want to help in doing something to bring the unique local culture closer to all visitors and to attract more tourists,” said Ms. Atherton.

On her part, the STB Chief Executive stated that the event would give us the opportunity to create awareness about the ocean and raise Seychelles profile as a sport destination. 

“We are truly honored that Tsanko Tsankov has expressed interest to do this challenge in Seychelles. His profile together with his sphere of influence will definitely boost the visibility of the destination. We truly hope to see this event to fruition as his dedication to this sport and his passion for the environment aligns perfectly with our sustainable tourism practices. Our beautiful islands are very diverse, and sports tourism remains a very important segment, we are continuously looking to develop further together with our local partners,” said Mrs. Francis.  

Tsanko Tsankov managed to set a new World and European record in 12-hour non-stop swimming in a 50-meter pool of 50,600 meters in the summer of 2020. He is the first person in history who swim across the waters of the largest Bulgarian gulf, namely – Burgas whose length is 46,800 meters in the open sea.

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Linda Hohnholz