Danube Arena, the new aquatic centre in Budapest, was unveiled on Tuesday as the main venue for the 2017 International Swimming Federation (Fina) World Championships.
With the championships being held from July 14-30, the 15,000-capacity facility was completed two months ahead of schedule. The full Olympic-size and warm-up pools are already open for athletes to train.
The complex was constructed in less than 14 months, following a sudden change of hands as previous host, Guadalajara in Mexico, pulled out due to financial reasons.
The official grand opening is scheduled for May.
The project, which was delivered under budget, is also part of Budapest’s bid to stage the 2024 summer Olympic Games.
Balazs Furjes, the Olympic bid chairman responsible for the construction of Danube Arena, said that even without proper plans in place, Fina trusted Hungary following the relocation.
“We have proved once more that international federations could rely on us, Hungarians, to keep our promises. Few would have believed last May, when we laid down the cornerstone here, that we would be ready on time, or now let me say, two months before the deadline, while keeping the cost plans,” Furjes said.
“This superb building is a result of unity, of Hungarian talent, and of keeping promises. It would not have been possible without all three of those things. My aim, definitely and obviously, will be to try to bring back unity around the Olympic bid, because to host the Games has been a 120-year-old Hungarian dream.”
Fina executive director Cornel Marculescu also praised the construction of the venue in his speech at the unveiling.
“I’ve never witnessed something similar in the past, to deliver a construction like this in such a short time,” he said. “To tell the truth, when I’m here, I don’t feel I’m in a swimming pool. This place is much more than just a pool. It’s a masterpiece, a perfect setting for the World Championships in the summer.”