The brand new aquatic centre in Budapest, Hungary – the Danube Arena – has opened its doors to swimmers for the first time.
The Danube Arena will be the main venue for the FINA World Championships 2017.
The venue has not yet been officially opened but it is now undergoing a testing period before the whole complex opens all its doors.
However, the warm-up pool – also a full Olympic size pool – is ready to welcome swimmers for practice.
At a small ceremony to mark the opening, Government Commissioner Balazs Furjes, responsible for the construction, announced that the complex will be called the Danube Arena.
He said that FINA had had put its trust in Hungary when it had re-allocated the 2017 event to Budapest when no proper plans were in hand. He said:
However, we proved once more that international federations could rely on us, Hungarians, as we keep our promises. Few would have believed last May, when we laid down the cornerstone here, that we would be ready on time, or now let me say, two months before the deadline set, while keeping to cost plans.
FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu also praised the constructors in his speech at the event.
I’ve never witnessed something similar in the past, to deliver a construction like this on such a short term. To tell the truth, when I’m here, I don’t feel I’m in a swimming pool. This place is much more than just a pool. It’s a masterpiece, a perfect setting for the World Championships in the summer.
Soon after Mayor Istvan Tarlos handed over the keys of the Arena to three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu who later inaugurated the first pool together with Hungary’s other swimming greats like world champion Laszlo Cseh, Olympic champion Daniel Gyurta, and world short-course champion Peter Bernek who swam a virtual race.
The athletes agreed that they couldn’t wait the moment to take their marks in the main pool on 23 July, Day 1 for the swimming competitions at the 2017 FINA World Championships.
Image courtesy of FINA