The Malta Sports Journalists Association has the pleasure of having intern Emilia Beutel from the Helene-Weber-Schule in Bad Saulgau, Germany. Below is her report about the World Aquatic Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
Several aquatic sports enthusiasts are currently tuned in and focused on the World Aquatic Championships that are underway at the moment in Fukuoka, Japan. These Championships are organised by the World Aquatics which is an international federation recognised by the International Olympic Committee for administering international competitions in water sports. It was formerly known as FINA (French: Fédération Internationale de Natation).
The sport event at the World Aquatic Championships brings together the world’s top athletes in swimming, diving, artistic swimming, water polo, open water swimming and high diving.
These Championships commenced on 14th July 2023, and hundreds of athletes battled it out for medals in the different competitions.
At the time of writing this article, China currently leads the leaderboard with 15 gold medals, five silver medals, and five bronze medals. Australia follows directly behind with five gold medals, two silver medals, and one bronze medal. Then comes Japan with four gold medals, one silver medal, and four bronze medals.
Germany just missed out on the winners´ podium and is currently in fourth place in the overall comparison. Germany´s top athletes are Leonie Beck and Florian Wellbrock. Beck won one gold medal in the disciplines of women’s 10km and women’s 5km swim, where she was just 4.10 seconds faster than her competitor Chelsea Gubecka, who got the silver medal, and Beck, who was 8.30 seconds faster than the third-placed Katie Grimes from the USA. She also got a gold medal in the women’s 5km open water swimming, where she was just one second faster than her competitor Sharon Van Rouwendaal from the Netherlands and just 2.20 seconds faster than Ana Marcela Cunha from Brazil.
Florian Wellbrock finished 18.70 seconds ahead of his competitor, Kristof Rasovszky, from Hungary. He was also 20.50 seconds faster than Oliver Klemet, who is also from Germany and only got the bronze medal in this discipline.
The Germans are not as successful in the other disciplines as they are in open-water swimming. For example, in diving, Jette Müller only achieved 10th place, so you can say on average they are not very good in diving, but the men are more in the middle of the table in this discipline. And in some categories, they are not even in the tables. Unfortunately, Germany faced challenges in qualifying for some events. They narrowly missed qualifying for the diving finals, where the competition was incredibly fierce. However, their divers have shown promise and dedication, and they remain hopeful for the next championships.
But what makes Fukuoka special? Fukuoka is located on the northern shore of the island of Kyushu in Japan. It is the eighth-most populous city in Japan. Fukuoka is a modern city, with most of the buildings being new. It was historically divided by the central river into two separate cities, Hakata and Fukuoka, before they merged in 1889. With its rich cultural heritage, warm hospitality, and stunning waterfront views, the city provides a beautiful backdrop for this prestigious event. So, Fukuoka is hosting the 20th edition of the World Aquatics Championship, and they expect 2,000 athletes from almost 200 countries. Fukuoka´s world-class sporting facilities, including the Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium and the Fukuoka Kokusai Centre, have impressed both athletes and spectators alike.