Swim Worlds in S’pore?

Swim Worlds in S’pore?
The OCBC Aquatic Centre, part of the $1.33 billion Singapore Sports Hub.

The 2017 World Swimming Championships will not be held in Guadalajara, after the Mexican city announced its withdrawal as host due to financial problems.

Russian sports city Kazan will host the biennial event this year, and Hong Kong could take over as hosts of the 2017 event after it was pipped on both occasions.

When contacted yesterday, the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) did not rule the Republic out.

In response to queries from The New Paper, Jose Raymond, vice-president (finance) of the SSA, said that if approached by the sport's governing body Fina to bid to host the event, the national sports association will study the logistical and financial requirements.

"An event like the Fina World Swimming Championships will require significant financial support, manpower and commitment," Raymond said.

"The SSA has not been approached to host the event. If approached by Fina to consider putting in a bid to host the event, we will conduct a detailed study and analysis of the event's requirements and required budget, before we submit any bid or a proposal to host the event in Singapore."

Costing around US$100 million ($135m), Guadalajara's organisers said they could no longer afford to stage the event after recent budget cuts announced by the Mexican government.

Fina have already awarded the 2019 world championships to Gwangju, South Korea and the 2021 event to the Hungarian capital Budapest.

OCBC AQUATIC CENTRE

The OCBC Aquatic Centre at the Singapore Sports Hub hosted major events last year like the South-east Asian Swimming Championships, the Fina Short Course World Swimming Championships and the inaugural Swim Stars event.

In June, the venue will host events across all aquatic disciplines at the 2015 South-east Asia Games.

Guadalajara's withdrawal comes just over a week after the Canadian city of Edmonton pulled out of the race to stage the 2022 Commonwealth Games, citing the drop in worldwide oil prices.

The United States, swimming's most successful nation, has never hosted the championships and officials said it had no plans to bid for 2017 because of the cost, even though hosting the event could boost Boston's chances of being selected as hosts for the 2024 Summer Olympics, which will be decided in 2017.

Australia, which hosted the world swimming championships in 1991, 1998 and 2007, said it was unlikely to bid for 2017, but did not rule out the possibility. Australia also staged the Olympics in 2000 and is hosting the Commonwealth Games in early 2018, so it has the facilities, but the cost remains decisive.

"It is unlikely given the required investment required by many partners to deliver an event of this magnitude successfully and the relatively short time frame," a Swimming Australia spokesman told Reuters.

"However, we would be open to having discussions with Fina should there be interest in Australia stepping in to assist. There is no doubt that we have the venues and expertise to host such an event, as evidenced in Melbourne hosting the event in 2007."


This article was first published on February 20, 2015.
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