Julio Maglione, President of FINA, the international federation of water sports described the 17th World Aquatic Championships held in Budapest and Balatonfüred as the best world championships of all time at the closing ceremony held in the Budapest Papp László Sports Arena where Minister for National Development Miklós Seszták also delivered a speech.

The Minister for National Development, who also acted as the President of the Organising Committee, highlighted that Hungary accomplished in two years what many at the time of the offer made to step in with the organisation of the event thought impossible.

“If no one noticed during the World Championships that we only had two years for the preparations, we may indeed say that we have accomplished the impossible. And I have every reason to say also on behalf of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who is currently abroad to all my colleagues: thank you”, he said.

Mr Seszták especially thanked the volunteers for their work, and indicated at the same time that Hungary is ready to organise further FINA events.

“It was difficult, but it’s beautiful. We took a liking to it. Also on behalf of the Hungarian Government, I can say that you are more than welcome to come back to us at any time, in the event of any new challenge”, the Minister said.

Julio Maglione, President of the international water sports federation FINA said thanks to the Hungarian Government, the municipalities of Budapest and Balatonfüred, the organisers and the thousands of volunteers.

“Your support, enthusiasm and professionalism made it possible for this one to be the best world championship in the history of FINA. Congratulations”, the President said.

“Our National Federations, our athletes, coaches and officials, lived an intense experience during these two weeks”, the head of FINA added. „We all felt at home. Our athletes found outstanding venues in superb locations; they were supported by immense crowds; they produced wonderful performances; and they could enjoy the hospitality and kindness of the Magyar people. Thanks to this, we may have seen exceptional performances in all six disciplines.”

Budapest will host the World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships next year, and the World Junior Swimming Championships in 2019, while in 2020 the European championships of swimming, water polo, synchronised swimming and diving will be held in the Duna Arena.

As a traditional part of the closing ceremony, on behalf of the Hungarian organisers Mr Seszták handed back the FINA flag to President Maglione, who then handed it on to the next host, the host of the 18th World Aquatic Championships, the Mayor of Gawngju in South Korea.

In the closing ceremony featuring some two hundred artists as part of the show, the legend of the miraculous hind widely known from Hungarian mythology was evoked.

At the end of the ceremony, the FINA fountain situated next to the Duna Arena which served as a symbol of the World Championships in the last 17 days symbolically stopped flowing, and with this the greatest sporting event hosted by Hungary of all time came to an end.

(Ministry of National Development/MTI)