Despite nearly drowning in disagreements, judicial inquiries and delays, the 2009 World Aquatics Championships are upon us. From 17 July to 2 August 2,800 athletes from 200 nations will be competing in the 13th edition of the event, last hosted by Italy in 1994. Its budget is ?44 million (?8.5 million from advertising revenues, despite the recession), and around 70,000 tickets have been sold for a total of ?2.3 million.

From freestyle swimming to water polo and synchronised swimming, the championships will cater to all tastes. The inauguration ceremony on Saturday 18 July at 21.15 at the Foro Italico