This weekend marks the beginning of the World Aquatics Championships, the biggest sport event Hungary has ever hosted. Sport lovers from all over the world will focus on our country and cheer for their favourite swimmers, water polo players and divers between the 14th and 30th of July. CNN collected five reasons to prove that you should definitely tune in for the races.
Two of the most successful athletes in the history of swimming won’t be present in Budapest due to different reasons. The 23-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps announced his retirement after the Rio Olympic Games, while the 6-time Olympic champion Ryan Lochte is serving his ban for an alcohol-fuelled case. This means that the chance of new stars to be born in Hungary is quite high.
The athletes will compete in more than 200 events during the two weeks at five iconic venues. After Mexico dropped out last minute as a host, the organisers had to build the main venue in less than two years. CNN also commemorates the rich Hungarian aquatics tradition and expects enthusiastic crowds at all venues.
“Hungary is a country of waters; we have lakes, we have rivers, we have everything. We want to show it to the world, not only those who come to Budapest but to the spectators as well” FINA’s Miklós Borsa told CNN Sport.
The water polo competition will be held in the renovated Alfréd Hajós swimming complex on the Margaret Island, which has been the home of legendary Hungarian teams since 1930. Synchronised swimming will be staged in a picturesque environment in the City Park, high divers will have the Parliament as a background for their moves, while open water swimming will be held in Balatonfüred.
As mentioned above, new stars are expected to be born in Budapest. Who will be able to take the place of the absent Phelps, Lochte and Missy Franklin? When it comes to Hungarian athletes, all eyes will be on Katinka Hosszú and László Cseh. Americans probably have most of their hope in Katie Ledecky, while the Brits are curious to see whether or not diving superstar Tom Daley will take back his throne.
The sport of high diving evolved from cliff diving, and this will be the third time that it is an official discipline at the World Championships. Men will jump off from a 27 metres tall platform, while women will do the same from a 20 metres tall platform. This means that divers can reach a very high speed so they’ll enter the water with their feet first. It will definitely be a unique spectacle on the coast of the Danube.
Even though the Olympic Games was held last year, several world records are expected to be broken in Hungary. It is a tendency that athletes perform outstandingly well in post-Olympic years, so get ready for many exciting races in the Dagály Swimming Complex.
Featured image: Szilvia Őszi