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Football pitch hosts swimming event

Russia: Football stadium hosts swimming championships

  • 13 July 2015

A view of the new swimming pools on the pitch and the temporary roof
The stadium can hold 45,000 people for football matches, but about 11,000 will be watching the aquatics action

A Russian football stadium is being temporarily transformed into an aquatics venue – with two Olympic-size swimming pools being built on the pitch.

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The Kazan Arena usually hosts Russian premier league matches, but for two weeks this summer it will be home to swimming and synchronised swimming events during the World Aquatics Championships. As well as the pair of 50m pools, a temporary roof now adorns the stadium and viewing platforms for about 11,000 people have been constructed inside, the Tass news agency reports.

Kazan already has another swimming venue – the Aquatics Palace, completed in 2013 – but organisers say adapting the football stadium has extra benefits. “We can get more people in here, the facilities are better, we can use the stadium’s skyboxes and VIP areas, and well, we wanted to be creative,” says Ranko Tepavcevic from the International Swimming Federation. He tells Tass that it was also more cost effective than building a whole new facility.

While it’s not unusual to see a football pitch ringed by an athletics track, it’s unlikely that many others have doubled as aquatics centres. The arena’s deputy CEO, Vadims Andrejevs, says he recently spoke to representatives from the London’s Wembley and Emirates stadiums, which have hosted concerts and other events. “I asked them: ‘But have you built two swimming pools in your stadium?’ Of course they hadn’t.”

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