In the interval of the swimming programme of the World Championships TV companies competed against each other in the course of a mixed 4x50m medley relay event. The race was intended primarily for entertainment rather than competition, yet the pool of the Arena was packed with stars.
Fans in the venue could follow the battle of TV broadcasters on the screens from the entry to the end of the heat and they could see the time results, as well. The audience could cheer on such swimmers as the Olympic champion of London Florent Manaudou representing France TV, Takeshi Matsuda and four-time Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima on behalf of the Japanese Asahi TV.
BBC has also delegated a smashing team to the Arena, you could hardly tell Rebecca Adlington two-time Olympic champion swimmer stopped racing four years ago.
„It was totally different to jump into the pool like this, obviously it was way more relaxed and the point was to have fun. Of course, this time we didn’t need to wait in the call room, I enjoyed it a lot, the pool is very nice, it felt great to swim in it.” – the 28-year-old ’retired’ athlete told. We asked her about the Hungarian audience and Budapest. „I must say this is one of the most fantastic cheering crowds I ever heard, they are fantastic. In addition to the Arena, Budapest is fascinating, also, this is my third time here, I am amazed by the whole place and I am happy to be back again.”
Another BBC staff member, retired swimmer Karen Pickering had a great time, too:
“We enjoyed this race a lot and it was funny to see how fast the former athlete self of ours took over the control. None of us stepped on the starting block to race really, yet in a second our mindset transformed completely. I have been working as a commentator for more than 15 years now, we have done similar races in other international tournaments yet it was the first time broadcasters entered a relay and no doubt, this has been the best one so far”-the world champion freestyle swimmer told with a broad smile on her face. She also shared her opinion about Duna Arena and the audience: “We have concluded many times – live, as well- that organisers have done an excellent job here. The venue, lights and sound are almost perfect, the audience is indescribable! It is amazing when there is a Hungarian contender in the pool and the crowd starts roaring on them. It creates an incredible atmosphere.”
In the interval on the sixth competition day volunteers will hold a similar friendly race, but it may happen that due to the high interest journalists will also be allowed to splash in the water again in Duna Arena.