Budapest's Dagály Aquatics Complex ready to host World Swimming Championships, but PM urges city to drop Olympic bid

I do not feel like that this is a swimming pool, because usually next to the pool the space is tight. This is much more like a stadium
– Cornel Marculescu

A “stadium-like” new aquatics centre in Budapest has been unveiled ahead of the World Swimming Championships, which will be held at the venue in five months.

The Dagály Budapest Aquatics Complex, also known as the Danube Arena, has been completed just two years after the Mexican city of Guadalajara withdrew as host of the championships due to financial problems, and Budapest agreed to step in.

The facility was originally designed to host the European Championships in 2020, and as such was going to be smaller. Architecture studio Napur had to extend their plans to accommodate the world event.

The completed centre features two full course swimming pools, a diving pool and a short course training pool. Its normal capacity is 5,000, but an additional 8,000 temporary seats will be installed for the forthcoming championships.

“The first world record at the World Championships has already been set, as this arena was made ready in record time,” said Budapest mayor István Tarlós at the press opening.

Cornel Marculescu, executive director of the International Swimming Federation, added: “When I step into this beautiful arena, I do not feel like that this is a swimming pool, because usually next to the pool the space is tight. This is much more like a stadium – spacious and beautiful.

“I believe we will see the most successful FINA World Championships in July. Budapest has done everything to achieve this.”

A number of swimmers, including members of the public, were invited to try out the pool. Then Olympic divers Flóra Gondos and Barnabás Gács became the first two athletes to test the new LED diving boards. A ceremonial key to the Danube Arena was presented to three-time Olympic champion swimmer Katinka Hosszú.

The complex was designed for potential use in the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, which Budapest has bid for. However, yesterday (22 February) the cabinet office of the Hungarian prime minister recommended to Budapest City Council and the Hungarian Olympic Committee that the city withdraw its interest.

Despite government and city support, opposition political parties have strongly argued against money being spent to host the Games during economically difficult times, and hundreds of thousands of people have signed a petition to host a referendum on the issue.

“Only those cities where consensus on the issue has emerged and been preserved can claim to have a chance of successfully bidding for and hosting the Olympics,” said the prime minister’s statement. “Today this is still the case for Paris and Los Angeles. Since in Budapest the required unity has disintegrated, it is now inconceivable that the city could mount a successful Olympic bid.”

Budapest  Hungary  Dagály Aquatics Complex  Danube Arena  FINA  World Swimming Championships  2024 Olympics  architecture  design 
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A “stadium-like” new aquatics centre in Budapest has been unveiled ahead of the World Swimming Championships, which will be held at the venue in five months. The Dagály Budapest Aquatics Complex, also known as the Danube Arena, has been completed just two years after the Mexican city of Guadalajara withdrew as host of the championships due to financial problems, and Budapest agreed to step in. The facility was originally designed
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The completed centre features two full course swimming pools, a diving pool and a short course training pool / FINA
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