Xin Zhou, FINA Media Committee Member (CHN)

The fourth edition of the FINA World Aquatics Gala "Soirée des Etoiles", an evening fully dedicated to pay tribute to the aquatic stars of the year, will be held in Sanya City, China, December 2, as FINA officials announced today just hours before the finals of the FINA /airweave Swimming World Cup 2017 in Beijing on November 11.

"Even if it is only two weeks earlier than the Gala to be held in Sanya, I have to tell you that it is one the most important moments aquatic sports have ever lived. On this occasion, we will celebrate the greatest athletes in the world, in all FINA disciplines, diving, swimming, artistic swimming, water polo and open water and high diving. Everybody will enjoy it!”

“The gala provides the most prestigious moment in aquatics. A lot of talents, including Chinese talents will attend the Gala, such as Sun Yang and Ye Shiwen," Cornel Marculescu, FINA Executive director said during a press conference.

Marculescu emphasised that China is a great partner to FINA.

"We have organised a lot of events every year in China, water polo, diving, swimming, and even the FINA World Championships. Next year, the short course World Championships will be held in Hangzhou."

"We also want to thank Hainan for the great job they have done for the Gala, as well as our partner Alisports," Marculescu said.

The best athletes of the year, to be announced on December 2, have been chosen through a selection process which looks at the points collected at the most important FINA events and according to the athletes' respective ranking. In swimming, world records points also count.

The "Soirée des Etoiles" (Evening of the Stars) was first held in Doha, Qatar, in December 2014, following the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) and the FINA World Aquatics Convention. It was then organized in Budapest, Hungary, where the best athletes of 2015 were awarded and in Windsor, Canada in December 2016 to praise the 2016 winners.