POSTED: March 9th 2012
Istanbul 2020: IAAF World Indoor Championships will be showcasing athletics
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
ISTANBUL: The Istanbul 2020 bid is getting a boost from the staging of the IAAF World Indoor Championships 9-11 of March at the new Ataköy Athletics Arena in the Turkish bid city.
The event got off to a great opening ceremony with athletic dancing and attendance by all the top level Turkish dignitaries including Turkish Premier Tayyip Erdogan and IAAF chief, Lamine Diack as well as a number of IOC members from the world of athletics.
There are a record 172 countries in attendance with 683 accredited athletes that will be followed by 300 international media as well as the domestic press corp as the events unfold over the next three days.
Suat Kılıç, Turkey’s Minister of Youth and Sport, proclaimed, “Hosting international sports events such as these prestigious IAAF Championships is a great honour for Turkey and Istanbul; it is also evidence of just how far Turkey has emerged in world sport. Staging these global events builds a vital bridge of experience and expertise on our journey to Turkey’s ultimate quest: to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games. There will be a magical atmosphere in the city over the next few days fuelled by the sporting passion of new Turkey’s youthful population. This is underpinned by the commitment of Turkey and Istanbul’s government to invest in national sport infrastructure and facilities.”
Istanbul’s substantial tourism market already has 63,000 rooms in the network and that is forecast to grow to over 96,000 by 2020 during the potential Games.
Hasan Arat, a prominent member of the Istanbul 2020 Bid Committee and Vice-President of the Turkey NOC, said, “This event is an opportunity for the international sporting community to witness Turkey’s dramatic social, economic and sporting renaissance in the 21st Century. Turkey’s rapid economic growth of around 10% (p.a) in part reflects why we feel that after four bids in the last 20 years, 2020 is the right time for Istanbul to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“Turkey and Istanbul’s stable and sustainable progress would ensure the Games would be an economic and organisational triumph for the Olympic Movement.”
Istanbul remains a cultural bridge between Europe and Asia and a melting pot of cultures and people. The brand new Ataköy Arena will be an asset to the city for innumerable sports events regardless of the weather.
IOC member and President of the NOC of Turkey, Ugur Erdener, said, “The Ataköy Arena took just 15 months to build, yet already it promises a sporting legacy that could last for decades: as our proposed venue for the judo, taekwondo and boccia competitions in 2020, the arena will help the city meet a pressing social need.
“These Championships will show the Olympic Movement the power Istanbul has to inspire a uniting event and create a harmonious legacy.”
Istanbul is in the 2020 bid race with Baku, Doha, Madrid, and Tokyo and the final decision will be decided on September 7, 2013 in Buenos Aires at the IOC session.
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