The brand new Aquatic venue that will host the upcoming 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, was officially inaugurated on Tuesday 21 February as Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban received FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu and FINA Vice-President Tamas Gyarfas in his office in the Parliament.
Though the grand opening is scheduled for May, the new complex called the Danube Arena and its warm-up pool – also a full Olympic size pool – are ready to welcome the athletes.
All parties and authorities agreed that Budapest is read to stage the best ever FINA World Championships, an argument proved by the fast and efficient way the new Arena was constructed for the World Championships in record time.
Government Commissioner Balazs Furjes said:
“Despite the short notice, we have proved once more, that FINA can rely on us, Hungarians, as we are keeping our promises. Few would have believed last May, when we laid down the steppingstone here, that we would be ready on time, or now let me say, two months before the deadline set, while keeping the cost plans.”
FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu also praised the constructors in his speech at the inauguration:
“I have never witnessed something similar in the past, to deliver a construction of such scope in such a short term. To tell the truth, when I am here, I don’t feel I am in a swimming pool. This place is much more than just a pool. It is a masterpiece, a perfect setting for the World Championships this summer.”
Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos symbolically handed over the keys of the Danube Arena to three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu who later inaugurated the first pool together with Hungary’s other swimming greats, World champion Laszlo Cseh, Olympic champion Daniel Gyurta, World short-course champion Peter Bernek who swam a virtual race.
The swimming competition during the World Championships will run from 23-30 July.