FINA officials praise Budapest's efforts to host World Championships

2017-07-15 01:30:08 GMT2017-07-15 09:30:08(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BUDAPEST, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) officials spoke highly of Budapest's efforts to host the 17th FINA World Championships, describing the newly-constructed Duna Arena as one of the best swimming pools around the world.

"I can say that in terms of the facilities, it is no doubt one of the best swimming pools in the world," said FINA President Julio Maglione on the opening press conference.

The Mexican city of Guadalajara was initially chosen as the host for the 2017 worlds, before due to some financial problems, it made a decision to abandon the hosting right, which was then taken over by the Hungarian capital.

Budapest, who got the hosting right of the 2021 event, had to make quicker preparation for the worldwide tournament than originally scheduled, as they built a new arena named Duna Arena on the bank of the River Danube.

That has turned into a nod from head of the world's governing body.

"The entire FINA family are very happy and excited to come to Hungary for the aquatics event. For the next 16 days, our best athletes will feel delighted here with thousands of audiences coming to the arena," he said.

For Maglione, recent discipline addition to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games has provided another incentive for the sport's future development.

"Recently the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has added three swimming disciplines on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, which means that for the first time in Olympic history, we will be the international federation with the highest number of 49 medal events in the Games.

"In this successful context, FINA will be much possible to enjoy the best World Championships here in Hungary. Budapest and Balatonfured are ready to host great competitions in amazing venues and locations," he said.

Maglione's opinion was echoed by FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu.

"FINA World Championships are today one the most important sporting events in the world," said Marculescu, taking some previous records of TV viewers to the worlds as the best proof for his viewpoint.

"In Barcelona 2013, there were 4.5 billion viewers on the platform, then the number incresed to 6.8 billion in Kazan 2015. In the Rio Olympic Games, we were ranked number one in terms of views on new digital platform launced by the IOC.

"In Budapest, the FINA launched its digital platform, FINA TV, for the first time, which is a step forward," Marculescu pointed out. "All these have shown that the influence of out sport and FINA is continuing to grow."

"As the President said, it's one of the best swimming pools in the world, that's no doubt, due to its space and facilities provided to athletes and federations," he added.

"In the preparation period, the collaboration with the FINA was excellent. They always helped us with guidelines and recommendations, so the World Championships are being staged now," commented Eva Szanto, the organizing committee's CEO.

The 17th FINA World Championships run from July 14 to 30, with the open water discipline staged in Balatonfured 130km southwest to Budapest.

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