The beautiful city of Budapest, Hungary has been the centre of aquatic excitement for the past two weeks. The Hungarian National Swimming Federation together with the Hungarian government and the City of Budapest pulled of quite a feat in the very short time provided to organize the 19th FINA World Championships.
The venues, the Duna Arena and the Hajos Alfred Swimming Complex located on Margaret Island, are well known from previous FINA World Championships and the FINA World Junior Championship events. Same as in previous events, the Organizing Committee, staff, and volunteers left no stone unturned to ensure that the best athletes in the world had the perfect environment to shine.
The consensus among all athletes, coaches, officials, and team leaders present in Budapest is the joy and gratefulness to be able to compete on the World stage once again with spectators cheering in the stands. The pandemic has brought challenges to everyone, each story and struggle unique, but the opportunity for the aquatic community to be together has strengthened the unity and friendships. Throughout these championships, the athletes have expressed how cool it is to compete in Budapest.
The divers were asked what it meant for them to be in Budapest:
Egypt’s Maha Abdelsalam
“This is my second time to go to Budapest, I love the City, I love being here and competing as well.”
Australia’s Domonic Bedggood
“The best thing is the warm weather and the sunny skies”
Canada’s Caeli McKay
“Being back individually for me, being here is very positive. Since my injury, it has been hard to get back on the individual stage.”
Germany’s Lars Rudiger
“Great big competition with the other National Federations, glad to be here and be part of the excitement.”
Brazil’s Ingrid Oliveira
“After having been unable to train during the pandemic, I love that we can train again every day. Coming to Budapest brought bad memories, because the last time I competed here, I finished last. Now I love it because I finished fourth.”
Australia’s Emily Boyd
“My 1st World championships was in back in 2013, this is my second Worlds, so it took nine years to get back here. Getting older is making everything more difficult, training is harder, injuries happen faster. Just being here is amazing. I am just having fun with it, not putting too much pressure on myself, just glad to be here.”
Jamaica’s Yona Knight-Wisdom
“The fact that we are pretty much back to normal, post covid, and we can interact with one another and compete. That is what I enjoy the most about these events, seeing all the people that I have met over the years, and having the chance to compete.”
Romania’s Nicoleta-Angelica Muscula
“After struggling with my emotions during the pandemic, I am very proud to represent my country, because I am the only female elite diver for Romenia.”
Germany’s Timo Barthel
“It’s my third time here in Budapest, it feels a little bit like home. The atmosphere here in the pool, to jump in front of people was just amazing.”
Colombia’s Viviana Uribe Bermudez
“I have not competed on the 10m platform for the past two years because of the pandemic, this was the first time, and I was very nervous and worried. But I am now relieved, happy, and proud on how I represented my country. I did my best.”
Great Britain’s Andrea Spendolini Sirieix
“It’s my first World Championships, so it is a totally new experience, I have lots to learn, lots to gain from it.”
New Zealand’s Mikali Dawson
“Lockdown and COVID were quite hard, I really struggled with my mental health. Coming back into diving really helped me so much, I am so grateful, and I can pretty much say that the sport has saved my life. I also did a new dive, which did not go so great. I did not compete the best that I could, but I have been injured, I got a concussion about a week ago. So being here is quite cool, I am happy that I was able to compete.
Malaysia's Hanis Jaya Surya
“The best thing in Budapest is the soup and the food. Everything is very beautiful here.”
Norway’s Helle Tuxon
“The past year has been a long road for me personally and I am very proud to stand here today, to see where I am at right now, to get ready for the next Olympics, trying to gain more experience and knowledge in being in a big event like this. To be surrounded by good friends, the diving and my own family.
Ukraine’s Sofiia Lyskun
“I feel as I usually feel before a competition, like myself. I think about what is happening at the moment in my country.”
Great Britain’s Anthony Harding
Just being here, it is my first World Championship, and our first event diving together with Jack. The whole experience of firsts is the best.
Puerto Rico’s Maycey Vieta
“It's an honour to represent Puerto Rico and compete against the best of the world. It motivates me, it encourages me, to keep going, to keep working really hard, so I can continue competing against the best.”
Australia’s Georgia Sheehan
“It is my first time at the Budapest pool, but I really love this pool, it is a great atmosphere.”
Great Britain’s Jack Laugher
“The best thing for me about being in Budapest is that I love this pool, the city, the culture, the history. It is an amazing place to compete, and I really, really, love diving here. Unfortunately, for me in the past, I have had some previously not-so-good performances here, but I feel that this is a really good opportunity for me to come back and prove those previous opportunities wrong and feel like I can get some redemption as well.