The Final6 of the Men’s Water Polo Champions League, that was held between 25 and 27 May, was the first international sports event where Europe’s newest aquatics complex and main venue of this year’s Summer FINA World Championship, the Danube Arena, built in a record-breaking time and under budget to host this year’s Aquatics World Championships, was able to show and prove its real values.
“The fact that the Danube Arena was constructed between Spring 2015 and Spring 2017 shows that unity between Hungarians can do miracles. So not only Budapest but entire Hungary can be proud of the Danube Arena, and it is marvelled all around the world that Hungarians could erect a building like this within two years. The Danube Arena is for everyone: training centre for the kids, for clubs and the national teams in aquatics and a proud host venue for international sport events and of course a great multiple-pool complex for the public - said Balassa Fürjes, Government Commissioner for Major Budapest Developments at the opening ceremony of the Arena.
The construction of the Danube Arena—which is more than a mere competition pool, as it is integrated into the most important sports and baths complex of Hungary together with the renewed Dagály Pool—started in May 2015, providing subsistence for 5,000 Hungarians, or 5,000 Hungarian families, as a whole. The facility, incorporating two 50-metre pools, a diving pool, a children’s pool and a bubble pool, will be able to host 15,000 spectators during the Final6, the FINA World Championships and the ensuing World Masters Championships, and later on some of its stands will be removed, leaving 6,000 seats in the Arena.
Swimming is the most successful sport for Hungarians at Olympics and prestigious international sports events. Our most successful athletes and youth sports associations had the rightful expectation in the previous years that besides developing public pools for the entire society, for children’s sports, and, more specifically, for swimming education, our successful competitive swimmers and water polo players should also get the chance to prepare for future competitions in world-class circumstances.
The Government maximised the costs at HUF 49 billion (EUR 159 mill). The investment did not surpass this limit by a cent. This amount includes the costs of the Arena, the surrounding engineering structures, the development of public transportation, and an almost 1 km long flood control dam and the utilities. Furthermore, the costs of the demountable seating, the drainage channel protection, the re-structuring and dismantling works after the World Championships and safety provisions are also included. Together with the Danube Arena, two other major swimming pools have been renewed for the World Championships.
Three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer Katinka Hosszú said that the Danube Arena is one of the top 5 aquatics centres in the world, and the Executive Director of the International Swimming Federation (FINA), Cornel Marculescu also praised the completed Arena, calling it fascinating and presenting it as a fine example to the organisers of the Tokyo Olympics visiting Budapest.
Thermal energy from thermal water is also used for the heating and cooling of the Danube Arena. The thermal energy obtained through the chilling of hot water is used, inter alia, for the heating of the building, for keeping the adequate water temperature in the new pools, and for the hot water in the showers and toilets. This technical solution makes it possible to supply more than one third of the energy needed to heat the Danube Arena from a renewable energy resource.
The investment is part of a complex urban development program that serves the growth of the north part of Budapest. This has been the biggest sport infrastructure development program in Hungary for the past 30 years. Thanks to the close and efficient cooperation between the Hungarian State, the local municipality and City of Budapest, the surrounding roads have been renewed, the environment has been redeveloped, a walkway has been built between the closest underground station and the Arena. The new dam in the vicinity of the Arena protects the neighborhood against flooding on a 1 km stretch of the Danube, providing a solution to a problem that persisted for a decade.
The Final6 of the Men’s Water Polo Champions’ League was a great opportunity for the general public to admire the Danube Arena inside, and experience —thanks to the perfect climate and acoustic conditions—what the atmosphere will be like when the best of Hungarian athletes will compete in July at the Aquatics World Championships in front of a cheering crowd filling the whole Arena.
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