October 30 - Kazan is set to host one of the largest sports events in history in 2015 when for the first time ever the FINA World Masters Championships will be held alongside the the main event.
More than 12,000 competitors aged 25 and above are expected for the first time to join over 2,000 elite athletes taking part in the FINA World Aquatics Championships in what will be a massive celebration of the sport in the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan.
The plan was revealed here on the eve of the 2nd FINA World Aquatics Convention, where the sport's leaders and national federations have gathered to discuss its future.
"For the first time we are going to combine the World Championships with the Masters World Championships," said Cornel Marculescu, the executive director of FINA.
"Kazan is going to be the place where for the first time we will start with the new concept."
At the last FINA World Masters Championships in Riccione earlier this year a record total of nearly 15,000 competitors took part in the 15 day event, including 10,000 swimmers, 2,400 open water swimmers, 1,400 water polo players, 580 synchronised swimmers and 270 divers.
The sheer scale of the event is illustrated by the fact that in the 100 metres freestyle alone there were 184 heats.
FINA President Julio Maglione announced in July 2011 that Kazan had been awarded the 2015 World Aquatics Championships
"But this isn't going to happen in Kazan," said Marculescu.
"We have to construct a realistic event with a realistic number of athletes."
Until now the FINA World Masters Championships have been held in the alternate year to the World Aquatics Championships.
But after the 2014 Masters Championships, due to be held in Montreal, the plan is for them to be held concurrently.
More details of the incredibly ambitious plan is due to be unveiled here tomorrow by Vladimir Leonov, the head of the Kazan 2015, when he addresses the Convention.
The aquatics event will be even bigger than the 2013 Summer Universiade, which are also being held in Kazan, and are expected to be attract 13,500 competitors in 27 sports.
As a comparison, this year's Olympics in London had 10,820 competitors while the Winter Games in Sochi are expected to have around 3,000 athletes.
Even the Asian Games, which has nearly 50 sports on its programme, normally has less than 10,000 athletes.
Veterans competiton is one of the fastest growing branches of sport and competitors in the FINA World Masters Championships are often in their 80s and even 90s, ranging from those who compete for recreational purposes to former Olympic medallists.
In Riccione one of the highlights of the Championships came in the 200m freestyle where Costa Rica's Claudia Poll, the 1996 Olympic champion, beat Germany's Franziska Van Almsick, who won a total of ten Olympic medals in her four appearances in the Games.
The New Rubin Kazan Stadium currently under construction is due to host the 2015 FINA World Aquatics Championships
The events in 2015 are due to be held in New Rubin Kazan Stadium, which is currently nearing completion for the 2013 Universiade.
The venue will eventually become the new home of Russian Premier League side Rubin Kazan and will also host matches during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
"Kazan is building now one beautiful and extraordinary swimming complex [for the Universiade]," said Julio Maglione, the President of FINA, who along with Marculescu last week visited Kazan and met Tatarstan Prime Minister Ildar Khalikov.
"It will be two swimming pools of 50 metres and one separate pool for diving.
"Kazan have a big enthusiasm.
"They have an excellent Organising Committee that is working very hard.
"We are sure we will have a superb World Championships."
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