Hungary Opposed To Israel Hosting European Short Course Swimming Championships

Wingate Institute pool hosting European Short Course Swimming Championships
Photo Courtesy: Wingate Institute

The European short course swimming championships are just six weeks away, and tensions in the Middle East have prompted Hungary to ask that the meet be moved from Israel to a safer location.

The meet will mark Israel’s first time hosting a major swim meet that is not the Maccabiah Games, a multi-sport event that brings top Jewish athletes to Israel every four years. The European championships will be held in Netanya at the Wingate Institute’s two-year old natatorium.

The Hungarian swimming federation has expressed concerns that the generations-long conflict between Israel and Palestine – as well as the general unrest in the Middle East region – will make the European championships unsafe. Federation officials have asked the Ligue Europeenne de Natacion (LEN), the continental federation overseeing aquatic sports, to consider a venue change.

According to a report on Israeli TV’s Channel 10 News Online, the cost of putting on this meet has cost the Israel Swimming Association (ISA) about US $2.6 million. The ISA had a short retort to Hungary’s request for a new host: “The Hungarians are trying to steal the event from us.” The Channel 10 article does not report that Hungary’s request also included an attempt to become the new host.

Hungary hosted the 2007 European short course championships in Debrecen, and played host to five long course continental championships since running the first edition in 1926. The country is already slated to host a major meet, preparing for the 2017 FINA world championships in Budapest.

ISA Chairman Shai Shechner reportedly met with LEN President Paolo Barelli, and Barelli gave Israel assurances that the short course championships will be held in Netanya as planned.

Netanya is located on the western coast of Israel, about 18 miles north of Tel Aviv. Reports indicate that very few incidents of warfare have reached Netanya in recent years. The last edition of the Maccabiah Games was held in 2013 without incident.

Channel 10 News report (in Hebrew)

4 comments

  1. Marjan Ražnjević

    Israel is truly geographical part of the Europe…NOOOOOOT!

    • avatar
      Swimmer

      How about less talk more swim?

  2. avatar
    Frank Kemeny

    Well, I don’t know why Hungary would do that. Could there be that they wanna make a gesture now that the Moslems hate Hungary because of the fence..?