FINA president talks up Chinese swimmers as Worlds returns to Hungary

Photo from June 15, 2022 shows the Duna Arena, the main venue for the 19th FINA World Championships, in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Attila Volgyi/Xinhua)

FINA president expects a well-organized world championships in Hungary and "a new record or new achievement" from China during the two weeks of competition.

BUDAPEST, June 17 (Xinhua) -- After hosting the 17th FINA World Championships in 2017, Hungary is again hosting swimming's biggest international event, and FINA president Husain Al-Musallam is expecting nothing but the best.

"I am very satisfied and happy to come back to Budapest after five years," Al-Musallam said at a press conference marking the start of the event.

"Coming back is a great thing, we are happy to be here, especially after the COVID-19 these last two years," the FINA president added.

FINA president Husain Al-Musallam speaks at a pre-tournament press conference in Budapest, Hungary, on June 17, 2022. (Xinhua/Liu Yang)

Al-Mussallam also said that his organization worked very closely with the Hungarian government and the Hungarian Swimming Association in order to bring the competition back to Budapest in a short time, as the venue was decided only four months ago.

"I think China's team is preparing very well for the competition, I understand they had a training camp in Europe before the competition, I expect good results from China," the president said when asked by Xinhua for his thoughts on China's diving team.

Al-Mussallam also said that he expected "a new record or new achievement" from China during the two weeks of competition.

China took seven of the eight diving gold medals at the Tokyo Olympic Games. (Xinhua/Wang Jingqiang)

In the morning, the FINA leader met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

"We are very fortunate to have hosts who share our passion for water sports and have the will, ability and flexibility to host FINA's most prestigious event," Al-Mussallam said in a statement following the meeting.

"It is a great honor to host the best water athletes in the world again in such a short time," Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky, Hungarian Defense Minister also supervising sports declared at the press conference.

"I am confident the organizers did their best and the athletes will dazzle everyone with their performance," he added.

Marlene Bojer of Germany in action during the artistic swimming solo technical preliminary at the 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary on June 17, 2022. (Photo by Attila Volgyi/Xinhua)

The 19th FINA World Championships starts on Saturday and will host over 2,300 athletes from 189 National Federations. Until July 3, Budapest, Debrecen, Szeged and Sopron will stage FINA's five aquatic disciplines - swimming, water polo, diving, artistic swimming and open water swimming.

On Friday, artistic swimmers started to compete on the competition's Day 0. More than 340 artistic swimmers came to the Hungarian capital from 44 countries and regions. 

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