By Duncan Mackay

London 2012 Aquatics Centre in competition modeJuly 26 - London will host the 2016 European Swimming Championships and European Masters Championships in the Aquatics Centre used for last year's Olympics and Paralympics, it was announced today.

The events, which feature swimming, diving and synchronised swimming, will be held at the venue within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and will be the first major event to be held at the Olympic pool since London 2012.

The successful campaign to host the event is the latest coup for UK Sport's £27 million ($42 million/€32million) National Lottery-funded Gold Event Series which aims to bring 70 major championships to home soil to build a strong sporting legacy from last year's Games.

The event was awarded to London by the European Swimming Federation (LEN).

Synchronised swimming London 2012Synchronised swimming will be among the disciplines to be contested during the 2016 European Championships in London's Aquatics Centre

"We're delighted to say that we have secured not only the LEN European Championships but also the LEN European Masters Championships in 2016 at the London Aquatics Centre," said David Sparkes, chief executive of British Swimming.

"The competition is an important stepping stone to enable our elite athletes to compete at a high quality competition early in 2016 before they travel out to the Olympic Games [in Rio de Janeiro].

"It will also allow every swimmer in Britain to enter the European Masters Championships and swim in the Olympic pool in London and experience the fantastic atmosphere of the venue."

More than 5,000 competitors are expected to take part in both events, a 1,000 in the senior event and 4,000 in the masters.

"This is simply fantastic news for London and a glowing testimony for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park's status as a world-beating destination for elite sport," said London Mayor Boris Johnson.

"The stunning Aquatics Centre, home to some of the most dramatic sporting moments during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, is a fitting setting for these flagship international championships."

The date of the event is still to be confirmed but it is set to be early in the summer before the 2016 Olympics open in Rio de Janeiro.

The bid involved a partnership of British Swimming, UK Sport, the London Legacy Development Corporation and London.

"The LEN European Championships is the first major event to be secured at the London Aquatics Centre and is another example of great legacy use of one of the iconic London 2012 sporting venues," said Liz Nicholl, chief executive of UK Sport.

"I am delighted that through the National Lottery funded Gold Event Series we continue to attract world class sporting events to this country to engage passionate fans, give opportunities to thousands of experienced volunteers and to support the performance ambitions of our athletes."

London 2012 Aquatics Centre having glass put in June 2013Workers are currently install ingthe new 628 glass panels on the outside of the Aquatics Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as it is reconfigured following London 2012

The Championships is the latest major event to be awarded to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

"The European Swimming Championships will be a major milestone for major events in the city for 2016 sitting between the 2015 Rugby World Cup and 2017 IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) and IPC (International Paralympic Committee) Athletics World Championships," said Iain Edmondson, Head of Major Events at London and Partners.

The £251 million ($382 million/€293 million) Zaha Hadid-designed Aquatics Centre is currently in the final stages of being reconfigured following London 2012.

The 15,000 temporary seats installed for London 2012, which were not part of Hadid's original design, have been removed ahead of the installing of the new panes of glass, which is currently being completed at a rate of 10 panes of glass per working day.

"I am delighted that we've landed the 2016 European Championships," said Britain's Sports Minister Hugh Robertson.

"It's the latest addition to a stellar line-up of world class sport events coming to Britain as part of the legacy from London 2012.

"I am sure the British public will be hugely supportive and pack the Aquatic Centre out on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park."

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