In celebration of the sister city status between Manchester and Wuhan in China – 3 City of Manchester Aquatics swimmers were selected and invited to compete in the famous Yangtze River crossing, swimmers – Ashley Hogg, Sam Horrocks and Emma Smithurst were due to fly out to Wuhan today and compete in the river swim on the 16th July.
The swim of 1.8km is in remembrance of Chairman Mao swimming the same stretch. 2016 would have been the 43rd river-crossing festival, and the first time swimmers from the UK would have attended this annual event.
Sadly, Wuhan has suffered from continuous heavy rainfall which has caused a severe flood disaster. The level of the Yangtze River has broken the warning level, forcing more than a million people out of their homes. Thus, the river-crossing festival has to be cancelled.
The City of Manchester Aquatics Swim Team would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the people of Wuhan and to the families of those who lost their lives in the flood disaster. We wish for a speedy recovery in the disaster areas, and hope that all communities affected are able to overcome this challenge.
Finally, we would like to thank a number of people who have helped organise the trip for the team: Jean Cui (Deputy Division Chief, European & African Affairs Division), Lois Wong (Wuhan FAO, European & African Affairs division), Philomena Chen (Head of Asia Pacific UK Trade & Investment North West), UKTI North West and Matthew Naylor (Sales & Marketing Director, Boutique Hotel Group).
We hope that next year the City of Manchester Aquatics Swim Team could have the opportunity to attend Wuhan and celebrate the river-crossing festival.