LAUSANNE, Switzerland, July 20 (Xinhua) -- The International Swimming Federation (FINA) celebrated its 110th birthday on Thursday by inaugurating the new headquarters that's actually owned by the organization for the first time.
Addressing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members and other distinguished sport dignitaries present in Thursday's celebration in Lausanne, FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione said the federation was founded by eight national members in 1908, and 110 years later has its 209 partners in the five continents. "We have a solid past behind us, brilliantly conducted by many generations of great leaders," he said.
Maglione declared that "for the first time, FINA owns its Headquarters. This inauguration in the Olympic Capital is also a testimony of our growth and sustainability. We are a leading International Federation in a very competitive sport environment and we surely constitute one of the pillars of the Olympic Movement."
IOC President Thomas Bach congratulated FINA for this double celebration, saying it's not only a great day for aquatics, but also for the entire Olympic Movement.
"You have a 110-year-history of success. You had great and outstanding athletes, strengthening the role of sport in society. This house is simultaneously a symbol of tradition and a commitment to the future," said Bach.
Bach also presented to the FINA president a special IOC President Trophy that's entitled "The sky is the limit." "I believe it fits FINA quite well," he added.
Before the official inauguration of its headquarters on Thursday, FINA offices were always used on a rental basis. The new headquarters is now located in a two-building structure, one villa originally constructed in 1876 and now an architectural protected site in Lausanne which was acquired by FINA in 2010, plus an adjacent pavilion erected to host part of the FINA staff.
Found in London on July 19, 1908, FINA is the international federation recognized by the IOC for administering international competition in water sports. It currently oversees competition in six aquatics sports, including swimming, diving, high diving, artistic swimming, water polo, and open water swimming, as well as "masters" competition in its disciplines.