World's highest altitude swimming race kicks off

Guide (China), Jan 12 (IANS) The third International Extreme Race of Winter Swimming across Yellow River started here in northwest China's Qinghai Province Saturday.

Being hosted in Guide County at an altitude of 2,200 metres in the Tibetan Plateau, the world's highest altitude swimming race has attracted 48 swimmers from Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Iceland, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Ukraine, the United States, and hosts China, reports Xinhua.

With the temperature registered at two degrees Celsius in water running three metres per second, nine of the 48 participants tried their first 500 metres in Yellow River at 10 a.m. (Beijing time).

"I will not test the waters. It is exhausting. I will keep my physical strength so that I can do well in the afternoon," said Chinese swimmer Zhang Shijie. The race would officially start at 2 p.m. in the afternoon.

Into its third consecutive year, it has become the fourth international race hosted by Qinghai Province after Tour of Qinghai Lake, Rock Climbing World Cup and Qinghai International Yellow River Crossing Challenge.