“Water. Wonder. Welcome.”, reads the motto of the 17th FINA Aquatics World Championships starting today in Budapest and Balatonfüred. Indeed, Hungary welcomes nearly 2,500 sportsmen and 350,000 visitors between with a wonderful water sport event, the biggest the country has ever witnessed.
FINA chief: “Budapest is magical”
Julio C. Maglione, President of Fédération Internationale de Natation, FINA, said before the opening ceremony that he was sure that the current World Championships would be the greatest in FINA’s history. “Hungary is one of the most wonderful countries in the world, and Budapest is magical, as are the people who live here”, he declared, praising the welcoming Hungarian hospitality. “An aquatic sport tops the list of Olympic sports in view of the fact that 49 gold medals will be awarded in swimming at the next Olympic Games,” he added.
Tamás Gyárfás, FINA vice president and vice president of the Hungarian Olympic Committee, said “Thank you to everyone”, adding that he hopes the performances and results speak for themselves. Miklós Seszták, minister for National Development and chairman of the Budapest 2017 organizing committee highlighted how Hungary prepared to host the competition in record speed after Mexico withdrew. The FINA World Championships provides Hungary with the opportunity to “show its face”, and everything is in place to ensure Budapest and Balatonfüred host the “most beautiful World Championships with the best atmosphere,” he said.
Opening Ceremony on Friday
FINA organizers have pledged to launch the opening of the World Aquatics Championships with the most spectacular show ever seen in Hungary. The ceremony will be held at the Pest side of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, four 80×10-metre barges make up the imposing, floating stage. Starting at 9 p.m., four thematic acts will bring to life water’s relationship to life, culture, sports and the future. Also, the audience will be dazzled by 510 world famous Hungarian artists, including Péter Eötvös, Ágnes Herczku and Gergely Bogányi. Members of the public may follow and enjoy the opening ceremony on the spot, from the Fan Zones, on seven giant screens at the locations marked on the map and on Duna, DunaWorld and M4Sport channels.
Budapest’s brand-new Danube Arena, a place for swimmers and divers to battle for the gold, will serve as one of the major arenas. With two Olympic-sized swimming pools and a maximum capacity of more than 15,000 spectators, the facility is world-class.
Water polo teams will return to Margaret Island’s Hajós Alfréd Swimming Complex to compete for the world title. The complex can accommodate up to 7,000 fans and it is likely to be packed every evening.
High diving will take place on the Danube banks at Batthyány Square, right across from the astonishing Parliament building, while Balatonfüred will host the open water swimming contests. Synchronized swimmers will perform in a temporary pool in the middle of Pest’s stunning City Park.
During the 17th FINA Aquatics World Championships a total of 76 Medal events are held across six disciplines. The official programme has started on Friday morning with synchronized swimming and diving to be followed with the start of the water polo and open water swimming events on Saturday and Sunday. Swimming prelims will start on 23rd of July.
For more information on the schedule, just click on the calendar below:
via fina-budapest2017.com, MTI and abouthungary.com; photos: MTI