Budapest, March 11 (MTI) – Budapest will host the 2017 FINA World Championships, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Wednesday after signing the related contract with international swimming federation FINA managing director Cornel Marculescu.
The event was originally planned to be held in Guadalajara in Mexico but the city pulled out last month for financial reasons.
Orbán told a press conference that Marculescu attended Wednesday’s government meeting where it was decided that the agreement should be signed.
“Hungary has never hosted an international event of such grand scale, so it will be necessary to join forces because this is a huge undertaking. Its success is not written in the stars. We have taken risks but it is possible to fulfil the task. We are proud that FINA has chosen us,” Orbán said.
The venue for the main event is set to be Margaret Island on the Danube, whose swimming complex will be revamped, and the Dagaly baths on the Buda side of the capital. Further, a new flood-defence system is planned north of Árpád Bridge to protect the Dagály baths.
He added that if everyone does their job and deadlines are kept, then the event will be a success and Hungary will profit from it, also financially. Hungary’s economy grew by 3.5 percent last year, which can serve as a basis for this undertaking, he said.
“What we need now is world champion organisers. Unless we grow up to the level of our world-champion swimmers, we cannot do this,” Orbán said. He added that he had already consulted with the opposition about the event and he was pleased that they “did not reject” cooperation. This is also necessary because due to the short deadline, a law will need to be introduced for Hungary to be able to act as the host country, Orbán said.
Marculescu said that the junior world championships originally planned to be in Budapest in 2017 will now be held two years later in the Hungarian capital.
Budapest previously won the right to host the 2021 World Aquatics contest but a new round of applications will be invited now for this event, the secretary-general of the Hungarian swimming association Tünde Szabó said.