Masters Worlds gather a record 97 countries!
More than 3'000 athletes, coaches, officials and FINA family representatives gathered to the 1976 Olympic Park in Montreal, Canada for the opening ceremony of the 15th and last stand-alone FINA World Masters Championships on August 2, 2014 for a memorable celebration of the Masters movement.
While Swimming events start today, August 3 at the Parc Jean-Drapeau, this edition proves already a success, with a record 97 member federation taking part in the 14-day event!
About 8'000 athletes will have attended the event, the greatest number, 6'000, entered in swimming events, including 1'300 relays. A total 950 water polo players, representing 70 teams, and 480 synchro swimmers have competed this week while 230 divers and 1'400 open water swimmers are gearing up for next week's competition events.
"The amazing number of entries shows the importance and popularity of our Sports in the five continents, and we can say that Aquatics is most probably the number-1 sport on a global scale," said FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione at the opening ceremony.
The FINA President emphasised one of the main reasons the World Masters Championships are so successful in terms of participants: "Our disciplines are well known for the benefits they generate in terms of a better health and happier lifestyle."
From left to right: Rafis Burganov, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sport of the Republic of Tatarstan, FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione, Denis Coderre, Mayor of the City of Montreal, Christian Blais, Montreal 2014 Organising Committee and Azat Kadyrov, Kazan 2015 Organising Committee - credit: Montreal 2014
"That is why we say that the Masters movement perfectly symbolises our philosophy of 'Swimming for All, Swimming for Life,' the FINA President continued.
Mr. Denis Coderre, Mayor of the City of Montreal passed the FINA flag to Mr. Rafis Burganov, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sport of the Republic of Tatarstan and host of the next edition of the Championships in Kazan, Russia.
From 2015, the event will be included in the programme of the FINA World Championships, the 16th edition of which will be held from July 24 to August 9 while the Masters Worlds will kick off August 5.
Atmosphere - credit: FINA