Report by OC Budapest 2017

Three-time Olympic and five-time World champion swimmer Katinka Hosszu revealed the countdown clock of the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest. State Secretary for Sports, Dr Tünde Szabo and Executive Director of Budapest 2017, Eva Szanto also spoke at the festive celebration at the Hungarian capital’s most central location, the Erzseet Square.

The countdown to the FINA World Championships has officially begun by revealing the unique, interactive installation and clock at the heart of Budapest on Sunday March 19 at 9:53 am. The timing is not a mere coincidence: the clock started exactly 117 days, 11 hours and 7 minutes and 17 seconds before the Opening Ceremony of the greatest event Hungary has ever hosted: the 17th FINA World Championships in 2017.

The breathtaking installation will stand on Erzsebet Square until the end of the Championships. Besides displaying the time left until the start of the Event, the tower-like clock entertains the public through interactive games linked to the #selFINA mobile application (already available for iOS, and soon for Android as well).

As State Secretary for Sports dr. Tunde Szabo said: “Hosting the FINA World Championships is a great diplomatic success that reinforces the Government’s right decision of considering sport as a strategic branch for Hungary, financing and supporting it directly, constructing and developing venues and facilities and hosting international events in order to make the country’s sport more prosperous and famous around the world, and to raise more active, healthier generations.”

Eva Szanto, Executive Director of the Budapest 2017 Organising Committee added: “The FINA World Championships are among the greatest and most popular sporting events of the world – it is followed by around six billion viewers internationally, while tens or hundreds of thousands of spectators will have the chance to watch the action live. Not only the venues will be spectacular, but the competition itself as well: the heroes of the Rio Olympics will fight again in Budapest, and we will see the future greats of Tokyo 2020, and hopefully some great Hungarian triumphs, too. We will celebrate champions in a total of 75 events at the 17th FINA World Championships.”

Hungarian swimming star Katinka Hosszú spoke about her feelings towards the home World Championships and her goals:“For me, it is great that this year Budapest is hosting the FINA World Championships. It would have been a little bit difficult to fully regain my motivation after the Rio Games, where my dream of becoming an Olympic champion had come true. However, having the World Championships on home soil feels almost like another Olympics was coming up.”

“I have already learnt that racing in front of home crowds should make the competition even more inspiring, more fun – and not put extra pressure on the athlete. Having such a great number of fans supporting us is quite extraordinary, we only see the positive side of it. The anticipation gives me additional energy to swim those last couple of meters at my trainings knowing what is waiting for me this summer” – said Katinka Hosszu.

The 17th FINA World Championships will be held between July 14 and 30 in Hungary. Athletes will compete in six disciplines (swimming, diving, synchronised swimming, open water swimming, water polo and high diving) in five venues altogether in Budapest (Danube Arena, Alfréd Hajós Swimming Complex, Batthyány Square, City Park) and Balatonfured (open water).