European Swimming Championships Put Off Until 2021 As Hungarians Return To Training At Budapest Duna Arena

Kristof Milak of Hungary celebrates after winning in the men's 200m Butterfly Final during the Swimming events at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships, Gwangju, South Korea, 24 July 2019.
The Duna Arena in Budapest, venue for the 2020 European Aquatics Championships that will now be shifted to 2021 - Photo Courtesy: LEN

The European Swimming Championships will not take place this year. After the event was postponed from its original dates in May to a tentative slot in August due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and spread of COVID-19, a 2020 event has now been ruled out by the Budapest organisers and the European Swimming League (LEN).

No final decision has been taken as to what happens next. The LEN Bureau or board meets in a web conference tomorrow to discuss strategy ahead of continued talks with Budapest, organisers in the Hungarian capital keen to leave the door open to staging the European Swimming Championships, along with the rest of the continental showcase for the other Aquatics disciplines in 2021. The European Masters Championships faces the same shift in timetable.

Earlier today, LEN also cancelled the European Junior Championships.

A source at LEN told Swimming World: “We’re going to discuss the whole issue further in the coming week. We know that 2020 is not possible but there’s no final decision and we now have to turn our attention to 2021.”

katinka-hosszu2

Katinka Hosszu – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Sándor Wladár, president of the Hungarian Swimming Association, has suggested May as the most likely date. He told the M1 TV channel: “It is not possible to organize a European Championship this year, that is for sure. Now it seems that it will be held in Budapest in May 2021.”

The LEN Congress is scheduled for November, when a final decision on dates is likely to be made in agreement with Hungary, home to triple Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu and World champion and record holder over 200m butterfly Kristof Milak.

LEN announced in March that last month that its showcase championships, scheduled for May 11-24 would be postponed until August 17 to 30. A review of that decision had been due early June but it has now become clear that Europe’s recovery and that of aquatic sports will take longer and no mass gatherings, including multi-sports events, are not going to be possible for the remainder of this year.

Meanwhile, Wladár revealed that 69 youth and senior swimmers had resumed training at the Duna Arena in Budapest and at Lake Balaton last Monday, in “extremely disciplined conditions, in compliance with the rules and epidemiological regulations”.

The country suffered a COVID-19 outbreak in its ranks last month but recovery has been swift.