Shortlist reduced for Fina Worlds as Argentina drops bid

Argentina has become the latest country to drop out of contention for the International Aquatics Federation’s (Fina) World Championships and World Masters Championships in 2021 and 2023.

Fina in March opened a new bidding process for its 2021 Worlds after confirming that Budapest would host its 17th World Championships and World Masters championships in July 2017. The Hungarian capital had been due to stage the 2021 event, but will instead replace Guadalajara as host for 2017 after the Mexican city withdrew due to funding concerns.

Fina in June said it had received expressions of interest from Argentina (Buenos Aires), Australia (Melbourne/Sydney), China (Nanjing/Wuhan), Germany, Japan (Fukuoka/Tokyo), Turkey (Istanbul) and Qatar (Doha) for its 2021 and 2023 Worlds. However, last month the governing body announced that Australia and Germany had withdrawn from the running, while the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also put its name forward for consideration.

Following last month’s withdrawal of Australia and Germany from the race, Fina executive director Cornel Marculescu has now told the Reuters news agency that Argentina has also opted to drop out of contention. Despite the withdrawals, Marculescu said there is “still a lot of interest” ahead of the bid deadline of October 20. 

“Argentina is not bidding now,” Marculescu said. “There is still a lot of interest. We have some excellent candidates and swimming is in a very strong position. We just had a very successful championships in Kazan, I think the best ever, and at the London Olympics, we were the number one sport worldwide for television and internet and also loved by youth more than any other sport.”

Meanwhile, Ayman Saad, a spokesman for UAE Swimming, has said the national governing body will present its proposals to host the 2021 and 2023 events to the Dubai and Abu Dhabi sports councils. UAE’s initial proposal includes plans to host the two events in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Saad said that if the country does secure the events, then UAE swimming ,and aquatic sports as a whole, could benefit. He said: “If a big competition takes place here we have a good chance to improve all areas of (UAE) aquatics, not just swimming.”

Bidding cities or national federations will have to present Fina with an executed host city agreement by October 26. Hosting rights will be assigned at a Fina Bureau meeting on November 8 in Dubai.

The 16th Fina World Championships took place in Kazan, Russia from July 24 to August 9. Following Budapest 2017, the 18th World Championships will be hosted by Gwangju, Korea in 2019.