Hundreds of aquatic athletes from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe have arrived in the Hungarian capital to vie for a piece of the USD 5.72 million prize money awarded over the next 17 days at the 19th FINA World Aquatics Championships. Competitions began with artistic swimming’s preliminary rounds on Friday.
The original 19th FINA World Championships were twice postponed (first, to avoid overlapping with the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, and again, in January 2022 when highly contagious Covid-19 variants extended the global health crisis and the designated Japanese host city, Fukuoka withdrew).
At the opening press conference, FINA President Husain Al-Musallam said he was very grateful to Hungary for making the World Championships possible in just four months, after the outbreak of the coronavirus and in the midst of the war in Ukraine. Referring to the pandemic, he said these championships will show the world “that sport is back and sport brings hope.”
1980 Moscow Olympics gold medalist Sándor Wladár, President of the Hungarian Swimming Federation and head of the organizing committee, said that when they agreed to organize the World Championships at the beginning of February, the undertaking seemed feasible despite the short time available, and in his opinion they were successful.
He added that the World Championships would definitely be the sporting event of the year in Hungary and one of the most watched events in the world, which would be an excellent promotion for the country. He said he expected three or four medals from Hungarian swimmers in the Duna Arena.
The organizers say the event will cost HUF 31-32 billion. Five years ago, when the Hungarian capital hosted the same event, the starting cost was HUF 25 billion but the final amount came to over fives times that.
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