LEN Bureau Meeting, 9 July 2016
At its meeting on Saturday in Budapest, the LEN Bureau backed unanimously the Hungarian bids for the 2020 European Championships in all disciplines. It means that Budapest will host the European Water Polo Championships in January, then the LEN European Aquatics Championships in May, and the open water event in June. Kiev (UKR) was awarded the 2017 European Diving Championships.
Budapest welcomes back the LEN Family in four years time with a unique series: after the 1926 and 1958 editions, all disciplines will have its continental showcases in the Hungarian capital, though this time not in the framework of one event.
The venue will be the brand new, state-of-the-art aquatic centre which is under construction for the 2017 World Championships. It features two Olympic size pools and a diving pool, an outdoor 50m pool also belongs to the complex and it can accommodate 5,000 spectators even in legacy mood (for the Worlds it will have a seating capacity for 15,000).
The European Water Polo Championships are going to be held in January as it’s an Olympic qualification event. The European Aquatics Championships are due in May 2020 in swimming, diving and synchronised swimming, while a separate European Open Water Swimming Championships will be held in Lake Balaton when the weather is milder, in late June. The Hungarian bidders also offered LEN to organize the first ever high diving Europeans on 20 August – this is a national holiday in Hungary with plenty of activities around the river Danube –, using the same temporary facility they construct for the 2017 Worlds. Budapest also takes on hosting the Masters Europeans in swimming, diving, synchro in late May and a bit later in open water in June.
“The decision the Bureau took today is an appreciation toward the commitment and dedication and the hard work Hungary are doing for aquatic sports” LEN President Paolo Barelli said. “The Hungarian organisers proved a handful of times in the past that they were capable of delivering really high level events in all disciplines. We are always happy to return here as we will have another world-class facility, and you can hardly find any other place where you have so many training pools in such a close proximity as in Budapest.”
LEN General Secretary David Sparks said: “In Great Britain we experienced that hosting great sport events is a fine tool to boost the economy, even in a city like London with a firm financial background, a European Championships what we had recently can make an impact.” Mr. Sparkes added that the legacy of the sport events are also important in building cohesion in the society as nothing else have such a power to bring people together as sport has.
Hungary’s State Secretary for Sport, Tunde Szabo thanked for all LEN Bureau Members for the trust they have towards Hungary and the former Olympic silver medallist swimmer underlined the Hungarian Government’s commitment to stage big international meets which is quite visible in the international sport calendars, especially in aquatics.
President of the Hungarian Swimming Association, Tamas Gyarfas insisted that such a fantastic venue as the new complex could not remain without great international events after the 2017 World Championships. “We have the Worlds next year, the junior swimming Worlds in 2019 and now we are honoured to become the hosts of the 2020 Europeans. We will do our utmost to bring our best once again.” Then he added: “And we have to find something for 2021…”
Denes Kemeny, President of the Hungarian Water Polo Federation also thanked the opportunity to have the water polo Europeans back in Budapest after 2014. He said, the Government gave all guarantees to stage a memorable event and he assured the LEN Family that capacity crowds would support the teams even in neutral games as Hungary has an everlasting love affair with water polo.
The LEN Bureau also awarded the stand-alone 2017 European Diving Championships for Kiev (UKR). Another fine facility, the Liko Sports Centre, home of the world class Ukrainian diving will be the venue for this event. This is going to be the first ever senior European aquatic event in Ukraine.
LEN can already look back a season of tremendous success. The European Water Polo Championships in Belgrade (SRB) broke all attendance records in January and the LEN European Aquatics Championships in London (GBR) in May were also outstanding in many aspects. In two years time Glasgow (GBR) will host the European Aquatics Championships while Barcelona (ESP) will welcome the continent’s best water polo teams.