Exclusive: "We would love to hold World Championships in London" admits FINA chief

Saturday, 22 September 2012
By David Gold

london 2012_aquatics_centre_21-09-12September 22 - Cornel Marculescu, executive director of the International Aquatics Federation (FINA), has praised the enthusiasm of the crowds at this summer's Olympic aquatic events and said he would be keen to come back to London for another major championships.

The Aquatics Centre on the Olympic Park in Stratford played host to the swimming and diving events, and saw American legend Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympian of all time, with a record 18th gold medal during London 2012.

There were a number of other incredible performances in London, with a trio of 15 years olds – Missy Franklin of the United States, China's Ye Shiwen, and Lithuania's Rūta Meilutytė all winning gold medals.

The performances of the athletes were matched by the volume of the crowd, whose enthusiasm was praised by Marculescu as he spoke to insidethegames about London 2012.

"I think it was a great Olympics," he said.

"We had a great venue, and the most important thing for me was the British public, who were great fans of the sport, regardless of the winner.

"The Aquatics Centre was consistently full, demonstrating that aquatics is one of Britain's favourite sports.

"The Olympics also gave us the opportunity to show the world the beauty and diversity of aquatics in all of our five disciplines.

"It was an excellent Games."

Marculescu, who competed at the Tokyo 1964 Olympics in the Romanian water polo team, also lavished praise on the remarkable achievement of Phelps.

michael phelps_21-09-12Michael Phelps become the most successful Olympian of all time by winning his 18th medal at London 2012

"Michael Phelps is a great Olympic athlete with the number of medals he has achieved and what he represents for the sport," he insisted.

"To get 18 golds from three Olympics is probably unachievable by anyone in our era, and I think that probably 100 years will pass before someone does that again.

"It is historical to have someone at the Games doing what Phelps did."

Marculescu added that he hoped his organisation would come back to London soon for a major aquatics event such as the World Championships.

London is bidding to host the 2016 European Swimming Championships, but has not yet bid for a FINA World Championships.

"Of course [we would like to come back]," Marculescu said.

"We have already proposed that the city and federation organise another [bid] but we have not yet had any sign from them.

"Of course we would be very happy to go back to London as this public is fantastic and swimming is a great event, even though the results for British swimming [at the Olympics] was not the best they can do.

"But the enthusiasm was there."

The next three World Championships are being held in Barcelona, Kazan and Guadalajara, but bids for the 2019 event can be submitted up until October 22 this year.

Cornel Marculescu_21-09-12Cornel Marculescu explained that the World Aquatics Conventions brings together national federations and aquatics partners for interaction and development

A week later will be the World Aquatics Convention in Moscow, which Marculescu told insidethegames, is key to helping the development of national federations.

It is the second convention of its kind after the last event in Punta del Este, Uruguay, two years' ago.

"What we are doing with this congress is bringing together national federations and aquatics partners," Marculescu explained.

"This will be an opportunity for an interaction between them and a development of national federations."

The World Aquatics Convention takes place from October 29 to November 1 at Moscow's World Trade Centre.

To find out more details about the event click here.

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