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European Swimming Championships start today in Budapest

The new complex has been completed not long before this kick off, and it cost Ft 2 billion (€7.27 million). This year, 1,008 competitors - swimmers, divers, synchronized swimmers and open water swimmers - from 40 countries will participate in the 28th LEN European Swimming Championships, starting on Budapest's Margaret Island. The competitions last for ten days, until August 6. The swimming, diving and synchro events will be held in Budapest, while the two open water events will take place on Lake Balaton. The biggest field - 602 competitors - have entered for the swimming events. In addition, 152 synchronised swimmers, 139 open water swimmers and 115 divers will compete for the medals. The European championships will be covered by a record number of 43 television companies and seen in 50 countries, especially when the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix will coincide with the final two days of the event. Tickets are selling very well, but the opening ceremony is free of charge, and visitors can see the water-polo champions playing as part of the ceremony, the Hungary-Croatia match. Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány will address the opening ceremony of the Championships. Later on, the men's water-polo teams of Hungary and Croatia will play a friendly game. The Budapest event is considered the largest European Swimming Championships of all times involving Europe’s numerous swimming stars. There are neither world championships nor Olympics this year, so the event is deemed an ideal opportunity for Europe’s best swimmers to prove their talent. (FN, Világgazdaság)