It was Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban who led the bidding team when Budapest earned the right to host the 2021 FINA World Championships four years ago. And it was the head of the Government who agreed to step in and signed the amendment of the original contract in April 2015 in Lausanne on Hungary hosting the 2017 edition. Today it was FINA’s turn to recognise the efforts of a nation and its Government when President Dr Julio C. Maglione presented the FINA Order, the highest award to the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister received the members of the FINA Executive in the Parliament, most of them as returning guests. President Maglione and especially Executive Director Cornel Marculescu had met Viktor Orban at least a dozen times in the past to discuss the actual stage of the organising process.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban welcomes the members of the FINA Executive - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbuemedia

The Prime Minister took the opportunity to hold a quick presentation of the Holy Crown, exhibited in the cupola hall of the Parliament together with the other crown jewels, the most appreciated treasures of the nation.

After this historical journey a more frequent chapter of history began: on the site of the reception the FINA President presented the Prime Minister with the highest ranked award, the FINA Order.

“Dear Mr. Prime Minister, I have the honour and the pleasure to present you the FINA Order, the most important award FINA has to offer”, said Dr Maglione. “But before handing it over to you, let me express our gratitude as we all know that these championships couldn’t be made without you. When we came to you in a situation where we had only two years to make the 2017 World Championships, you told us OK, let’s go ahead. And you did it. You built all the facilities in a beautiful country and city where we meet excellent people who always smile and whatever we ask they find the solution. And you represented this above all”, the FINA President recalled.

In his response, Mr. Viktor Orban said: “May I say that I’m fully aware that this prestigious and unique award was given to the Hungarian people. They were the ones who achieved this World Record to organise such a huge event in two-year time. When we started preparing this event, we passed a legislation in the Parliament supported by all the parties. This means that the whole nation, all representatives stood behind this great adventure of organising these championships in a very limited time”. 

“Sport is one of the most important things in the world. It’s a must to have sport in our life and you, as the leaders of one of the most important international federations, contribute a lot to not just the Hungarian families but all families around the world. We consider your activity as part of our life. Hungarians who are family orientated are really grateful for you to run this sport on such a high level and to bring this event to our country”, concluded Prime Minister Orban.