Tue, Jun 16, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Swimmers set to tackle Xiamen-Kinmen contest

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A swimming meet from Taiwan to China is scheduled for Aug. 15, with 100 participants from Taiwan and China taking part, Kinmen County Commissioner Lee Chu-feng (李炷烽) said in Taipei yesterday.

Lee told a news conference that 50 swimmers from Taiwan would join 50 swimmers from China to embark on the swim from Xiamen in Fujian Province to Little Kinmen — an 8.5km swim.

The event, which is being sponsored by the Kinmen County Government and the Xiamen City Government, will begin at Xiamen’s Yefengzhai Beach and finish at Little Kinmen’s Shuangkou Beach, Lee said.

He said that although the direct distance between the two beaches was about 6km, the swimmers would have to swim up to 8.5km because of the ocean currents.

“They must finish the swim in 3.5 hours or less,” the commissioner said.

Addressing reporters, Lee said the swim would not only be a contest but also a symbol of cross-strait peace.

“We hope Kinmen will rid itself of the memory of being an anti-communist battlefield six decades ago,” he said.

In 1958, China bombed the islands of Kinmen for weeks.

The Kinmen County Government will remove spear-like anti-landing barricades from the Shuangkou Beach before the swim to make approaching it easier.

The barricades — built to hinder a Chinese invasion — will be replaced after the event, officials said.

Meanwhile, workers assigned to Kinmen to clear landmines left over from the same period will be put to work on cleaning up the beach in time for the event, officials said.

To minimize the risks involved in the swim, the sponsors will conduct test swims on Wednesday and on July 17 to give swimmers a chance to get used to the currents in the area.

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