Thousands of Canadians at the Opening Ceremony of the FINA World OWS Championships

The city of Roberval turned out to show its support and appreciation of 132 athletes from 28 nations who are competing in the 6th edition of the FINA Open Water World Championships to be held starting Saturday, July 17th in beautiful Lac-St.Jean. Remarks by Canadian dignitaries and an official welcome by FINA President Dr. Julio Maglione were followed by a tribute to the heritage and the culture of Canada's original settlers.

The lively celebration included a fantastic display of fireworks and a concert on the eve of women's 10K swim. Saturday at 11:30am 37 women will enter Lac-St.-Jean to compete in the same distance that was first contested as an Olympic event in Beijing. The men's 10K competition will also include 37 athletes and will be contested on Sunday at 11:30 am.

On-hand for the Opening Ceremonies were:

Serge Simard, Canadian Minister responsible for the regions of Saguenay Lac-St-Jean: "For the promotion of Open Water, we have brought the news of this FINA Open Water World Championships to this region and there is great awareness of this week long contest by some of the world's finest athletes."

Denis Lebel, Federal Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the region of Quebec: "All of the tools are in place for the athletes to be successful in Lac-St-Jean. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will cover the 5K, 10K and 25K live on their website and the CBC will produce a highlights package for broadcast throughout the country. The Olympic distance 10K event will be broadcast live in Quebec and I am aware that it will also be broadcast live in Brazil and Germany, and perhaps in other nations too."

Mayor of the city of Roberval Michel Larouche: "I extend a warm welcome from all of us in Roberval. We will witness the worlds best swimmers in Roberval this week. We wish to thank FINA, and the athletes, coaches and supporters who are with us in Robervals. Enjoy the championships!"

Benoit Amyot, head of the Organising Committee of Roberval 2010: "Thank you for believing in us and in our ability to host a magnificent FINA Open Water World Championships in Roberval. We invite the athletes of the world to consider this your second home. We invite you to come back and swim the beatiful Lac-St-Jean again and again."

FINA President Dr. Julio Maglione proclaimed the opening of the FINA World Championships: "On behalf of FINA, I welcome you to the 6th edition of the FINA Open Water World Championships in this wonderful region of Canada. The event is an important part of the great culture of our sport. We are in a place where there have been 55 previous annual crossings of the Traversee Internationale du lac St-Jean. Thank you to the Organizing Committee of Roberval 2010 and to over 450 volunteers for their dedication to the success of this event, a week-long celebration of our Open Water discipline. FINA salutes the Province of Quebec, the City of Roberval and the nation of Canada for their commitment to this event. To the athletes who are in Roberval I declare the 6th FINA Open Water Championships to be open. You should know that the water of Lac-St-Jean is waiting for you.  I am sure that you are very happy to be here and I believe that you will also be happy with your remarkable performances throughout the week."

FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione during the opening ceremony - credit: Steeve Tremblay

The competition site for Roberval 2010 events are located in installations belonging to the Traversee Internationale du lac St-Jean Organisation, by the shores of Lac-St-Jean. The FINA Open Water World Championship continues with the Men's and Women's 5K events on Tuesday, July 20th and the 25K events on Thursday, July 22nd.

Opening Ceremony - credit: Steeve Tremblay