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15th FINA World Aquatics Championships to commence in Barcelona

From 19th July to 4th August, Barcelona will host the 15th FINA World Aquatics Championships and will bring together 2,500 athletes from 180 countries to compete at the highest level. Events will be held at 4 unique facilities all within a 10 minute walk of each other, which will enable spectators to gain access to a wide variety of events. Ten years after hosting 10th Championships, Barcelona will again unite the world of aquatics for two weeks of events that is bound to create a spectacular atmosphere throughout the city. The budget of the Championships is roughly €25 million and will be broadcast to an estimated 520 million viewers in 160 countries.

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19 July 2013 06:15 PM

by

Julian Scully

Barcelona (CNA).- For the next two weeks Barcelona will host the 15th FINA World Aquatics Championships that will involve 2,500 athletes competing at 4 unique venues within the city. The opening ceremony will take place on Friday evening and in the following days spectators will be treated to a wide range of events involving the world’s 2,500 best aquatic athletes, coming from 180 countries. This year the Championships shall be hosted at 4 unique facilities, each within a 10 minute walk of each other, making the movement of both spectators and athletes easier. Barcelona has a strong tradition of hosting sporting events which is highlighted by the 1992 Olympic Games during which the city opened itself up to the Mediterranean Sea. The city hosted the 10th FINA championship 10 years ago. The event will cost around €25 million and will be broadcast to an estimated audience of 520 million viewers in 160 countries. The Championships start on Saturday with the first Open Water events and will end on Saturday 3rd August with the men’s Water Polo final.


The venues

The Championships will be hosted in already existing and renovated events from both the 1992 Olympic Games and the 10th FINA Championships of 2003. The Palau Sant Jordi sports arena will host the swimming and synchronised swimming events and will be the main focus of the Championships. The arena has the capacity for over 12,000 spectators. This state of the art arena was designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki for the 1992 Olympics has since been used for tennis, basketball and gymnastic events. For the 15th FINA Aquatics Championships a swimming pool has set up on the arena’s pitch.

The world famous Bernat Picornell Pools, rebuilt for the 1992 Olympic Games and which have impressive views on Barcelona’s skyline, will host the Water Polo events this year. With the installations of extra tiers, the Bernat Picornell Pools has space for an audience of almost 5,000 people. The complex consists of a 50m indoor pool, a 50m outdoor pool and a diving pool. The diving events will take place in the 4,000 seat Montjuïc Municipal Pool, located on the Montjuïc hill, which has spectacular panoramic views of the city.

Finally, the Open Water competitions will be in the Moll de Fusta area of Barcelona which is a symbol of the cities openness to the Mediterranean, transforming the old city’s harbour into a leisure area. With events of 5, 10 and 25 kilometres, competitors will swim within the city’s harbour, while spectators will be able to enjoy unrivalled views of the competition and the city.

A sustainable event

There had been concerns that the costs of the Championships would be damaging for a country that is in the depths of an ongoing economic crisis, and that such an event would be extremely frivolous in the context of the large scale budget cuts that have taken place in recent years. However, the fact that no new sporting arenas have been contracted means that costs have been kept to a minimum. Furthermore, the Championships will bring in spectators from all over the world to watch the spectacle. It is predicted that the championships will result in 50,000 overnight stays and that money made through sponsorship deals will keep the event economically-sustainable.

The event organisers have placed particular emphasis on making the Championships as environmentally-sustainable as possible, whether it be in the form of water purification or transport methods. Sant Jordi Pool uses an environmentally friendly filter system that uses a material extracted from volcanic lava. 2,500 volunteers will facilitate the coordination of the event and each will be provided with free public transport passes to access all venues.

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  • The swimming pool at the Palau Sant Jordi arena is ready for the World Championships (by M. Fernández Noguera)

  • The swimming pool at the Palau Sant Jordi arena is ready for the World Championships (by M. Fernández Noguera)