At one point, a total of eight cities had expressed an interest in hosting the 2021 and 2023 FINA World Aquatic Championships, but that list has dwindled down to just three and it now looks as if the list will remain with the cities of Nanjing, China, Fukuoka, Japan and Doha, Qatar.
The United Arab Emirates was a potential additional candidate, but Sport360° is reporting that no bid will be stemming from the country for the event. Per the UAE Swimming Federation Technical Director, Ayman Saad, “We have no approval from any governmental institution so unfortunately we have not submitted a bid.” Also putting the fact that another city in relative close proximity is already in the running to host the event, Saad said, “Doha submitted their bid already so it’s not wise to compete against a fellow Arab country. It wouldn’t help their cause or ours.”
Australia and Germany were the first two potential hosts to drop their bid, followed by the United Arab Emirates and then most recently by Argentina. Budapest, Hungary was originally awarded the 2021 edition of the championships but, due to the city of Guadalajara, Mexico backing out of their 2017 hosting duties, stepped up and took on that event instead. As such, Budapest’s 2021 hosting spot became open again. Gwangju, South Korea, the site of this year’s World University Games, has already been awarded the 2019 FINA World Championships.
Originally, FINA was due to make the 2021 and 2023 host decision during a meeting in Dubai on November 8th, however, Saad says that the meeting has been pushed back. “The meeting in which FINA will decide has been pushed from November to January so should anything change here, we know that they would accept a late bid from the UAE, Dubai especially, as we have a strong relationship with them”, commented Saad. Dubai hosted the 2010 FINA Short Course World Championships, while Abu Dhabi is set to host the 2020 version.
The UAE was originally awarded the FINA World Aquatic Championships hosting duties for the 2013 edition, but withdrew their bid due to lack of governmental support. Barcelona, Spain ended up as the site for the 2013 World Championships.
Also revealed in the discussion with Saad are plans for creating a FINA-accredited development center in Dubai, geared towards swimmers, coaches and officials from around the world. The idea for the center, envisioned as being set up in the Hamden Sports Complex, has “already been approved by FINA, but we are preparing the actual plans now to submit it for government approval”, according to Saad. “The Arab world really needs a push in order to further spread the swimming culture and this centre would really help with that.”