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London 2012 Pool 'To Host' 2016 Euros

Mar 15, 2012  - Craig Lord

Britain will host the European Championships for swimming, diving and synchronised swimming at the London Aquatics Centre in 2016 if a bid by British Swimming is rubber stamped as expected in September. 

The British federation held talks with LEN, the European swimming league, at the House of Lords last week and an official bid was agreed. SwimNews reported the presence of LEN's delegation in London and Britain's intent last week during the Britain Olympic trials, which served as the official Olympic test event for the Zaha Hadid-designed pool.

The European body will vote on the matter in Portugal in September but that is expected to be a mere formality for a body that has had to find alternative hosts for recent continental showcase championships after the original bid winners withdrew. 

This year's event was supposed to have been held in Antwerp but was been switched to Debrecen in Hungary last month after the Belgian city defaulted on financial commitments. The way is open for other bidders to enter the fray but in the current economic climate, LEN, among others, will be glad to approach a championships through cooperative talks with partners that wish to work in the best interests of the sport.

The British bid has the backing of Mayor of London Boris Johnson and carries financial assurances.  Good news for Britain, British Swimming, London's splendid Olympic pool and LEN. 

British Swimming Chief Executive David Sparkes said: "The agreement to work with LEN on a partnership to bring the 2016 European Championships to London will ensure the Olympic pool has an events legacy and will allow our athletes to prepare for their next Olympic milestone, Rio de Janeiro.

“A successful bid would also provide an additional legacy in terms of inspiring people within the surrounding boroughs to participate in swimming and to enjoy the health benefits this brings.”

The bid is part of London 2012's legacy.  The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "Hosting the LEN European Swimming Championships in 2016 would see the largest event held in the Aquatics Centre after the Games and would build on the legacy of our Olympic venues as being the first choice for elite sporting events.

“Swimming has a huge following in London and staging this fantastic championships would not just be a wonderful accolade for our city but a chance for Londoners to enjoy some first-class sport right on their doorstep."