An open sea swimming tournament, Ly Son Cross Island, will see the participation of nearly 250 athletes on the Ly Son Island in Quang Ngai Province on May 28.
Swimmers will be divided in five different age groups from eight to under 50. They will swim in three distance categories of 1km, 2km and 5km.
In the 5km class, athletes will start from To Vo Gate on big Ly Son Island, swim in the middle of the sea paradise and overcome ancient craters and millions of years of volcanic sediment to An Binh Island.
The organisers have set up special corridor made of national flags to lead athletes from the start to the finish of this distance.
In the 2km category, swimmers start from the jetty beach of An Binh Island to small Ly Son Island. They will have a chance to admire diverse coral reefs during their race. The 1km distance is for kids.
The top three men and women overall will be awarded medals or trophies. The three fastest male and female swimmers of different age groups will also receive prizes, and all athletes will earn finisher medals.
According to deputy chairman of Ly Son District People's Committee Le Van Ninh, most of the preparation activities for the competition were have been completed. The safety of the athletes is the first priority of the organisers, who also tried to bring the best experience of open sea swimming to the participants.
He said all the district's experienced personnel will ensure order and security. Rescue and medical care will be in place during the tournament. More than a sports competition, the event was an opportunity to introduce and promote the image of local culture and tourism to visitors.
“We will make Ly Son Island sea swim contest an annual event in our culture and sport activities to promote our tourism industry. It is expected that in the near future, Ly Son will be a sea and island tourist centre," said Ninh.
Ly Son is well-known for ancient craters formed after millions of years of geological tectonics that bestowed a unique natural beauty. Experts see Ly Son and its geopark, formed by volcanoes from the prehistoric age, as an extremely rare "natural museum" of volcanic activities.
The area currently has traces of 10 craters, of which three are located on the seabed.
It is also home to the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Flotilla, which protected the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes four centuries ago. Every square metre on the island is imbued with the culture of its ancestors, who protected the sea hundreds of years ago.
The island is also famous as the kingdom of onions and garlic, which have distinctive delicious tastes that other products of the kind cannot compare with.
In recent years, different sport activities, such as a paragliding tournament, a marathon, beach volleyball and traditional boat races, have been organised on Ly Son.
Last August, a group of 36 swimmers came to test their skills and check the routes. They were stunned by the beauty of the sea and recognised its potential for open sea swimming tournaments.
The Ly Son Island sea swim coontest is then set up and jointly organised by the local People's Committee and Green Path Joint Stock Company.