Xpat Opinion: Hungary To Host 2021 World Aquatics Championships

  • 29 Jul 2013 9:00 AM
Xpat Opinion: Hungary To Host 2021 World Aquatics Championships
By Ferenc Kumin: Browse through the medal count for the 2012 London Olympics, and you’ll spot Hungary’s impressive rank at number 14, right after Canada, with eight gold medals, four silver and five bronze. What’s just as interesting is that if you click on the details, you’ll see that Hungary’s medal board is dominated by swimming and kayak or canoe (five gold, two silver and two bronze). Aquatics have long been a tradition in Hungary. We’ve produced some great athletes in these sports and, as I posted earlier this year, great sportsmen and –women who serve as outstanding role models for our younger generation.

That’s why we’re especially excited at the news that Hungary has won the bid to host the 2021 FINA World Aquatics Championships and the World Junior Swimming Championships in 2017. It also fits nicely with the current government’s priority to promote sports especially, but not exclusively, for children and the new and renovated swimming pools will serve the community for a long time.

Indulge me for a moment of boasting. Hungary’s water polo team has won nine Olympic gold medals. The Hungarian water polo team has competed in only six Olympic Games where it did not medal at all and has always finished in the top six when it competed. When Hungary hosted the 2012 European Swimming Championship, our swimmers finished on top, winning 26 medals (two more than the German team, which came in second). Hungary is a proud water sport nation.

But there’s a poignant historical side to this as well. A movie entitled Children of Glory (also known as Freedom, Love) commemorates the 1956 Melbourne Olympic waterpolo match between the Hungarian and the Soviet teams. The 1956 Hungarian freedom fighters had fought the Soviets back home, and the water polo team defeated the Soviets 4 to 0.

The game is still referred to as the ‘blood in the water’ match, because of an incident during the game where a Soviet player punched a Hungarian player, Ervin Zádor, in the face and Zádor emerged from the water bleeding. Yet the Hungarian team still turned in a momentous victory, just as Hungarian freedom fighters were challenging the Red Army in the streets of Budapest. In the subsequent decades under Soviet oppression, water polo matches took on a special meaning.

With so much attachment to aquatics, we’re really very excited about bringing the 2021 games to Hungary.

Source: A Blog About Hungary

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