by Dr. Zsuzsa Csisztu, AIPS Executive Committee Member

The 17th FINA World Championships staged in Budapest and Balatonfured have been special from the aspect of journalists. A total of 687 journalists and photographers, 202 of them Hungarian, registered for what many are calling the greatest sporting event in the history of the nation. There were 861 TV broadcasters engaged in the event.

Shuttle boat Similarly to VIP guests, athletes and fans, media representatives could take advantage of the location and use the shuttle boat services between Hajós Alfréd Swimming Complex and Duna Arena, providing smooth and comfortable transport for commentators and journalists attending the events. 

Media services

When choosing media accommodation spots the primary consideration for organisers was location. Media bus services between media hotels and competition venues were available on a round-the-clock basis. The Organising Committee provided hot meals once a day for all broadcasters, journalists and photographers. Photographers and journalists worked in two areas inside the Duna Arena. Photographers had a dedicated room where up to 80 of them could work simultaneously. On the stands, in the pool area and other spots more than 120 photographers had the opportunity to capture remarkable moments at “the best World Championships of all times” – quoted from Julio Maglione, the President of FINA.

These figures apply to Duna Arena. During the World Championship, the Main Press Centre provided space for over 500 journalists to perform their daily work. Due to the international nature of the competition, the Organizing Committee set up a “language support” team of volunteers, so that media staff members received assistance in conducting interviews or doing translations on demand in Japanese, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese, etc. Uniquely, the media support teams working in each venue, were formed from young Hungarian sport journalist, working in several Hungarian sport media editorial offices on the daily basis, providing up-to-date knowledge for their foreign colleagues coming from all over the world.

The press stand in the tribunes was in an ideal position for media to carry out their work. The mixed zone in the Duna Arena was wide, very well organised and just at the side of the press center.

AIPS President Gianni Merlo shared the opinion of the organisers about the media organization setting a much higher standard than previously seen at a FINA event, including the Rio Olympic Games.

The AIPS President along with the President of AIPS Europe Charles Camenzuli took part in the Medal Ceremonies in a diving and in a synchronised swimming event together with Mr. Tamas Gyarfas Vice-president of FINA.

AIPS and AIPS Europe Executive Committee members Dr. Zsuzsa Csisztu, the Vice-President of the Hungarian Sport Journalists’ Association, and its President György Szollosi also took part in the Medal Ceremonies as presenters.

Overall, the 17th FINA World Championships was seen as a success for the Organisers. With the latest experiences gathered here, Budapest is set to be the ideal host again in 2024 at the FINA World Short Course Championship, for media and swimming fans alike.