POSTED: September 5th 2013

Young athletes added to Istanbul 2020 delegation in Buenos Aires

CHAD WISE / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Istanbul 2020 revealed 50 athletes under the age of 25 Thursday who will sit amongst the Istanbul 2020 delegation for the Bid’s final presentation to the International Olympic Committee Saturday in Buenos Aires.

Making up half of the Istanbul 2020 delegation, the athletes were presented at a press briefing to media in Buenos Aires Thursday.

“The delegation we have here is a clear sign of how seriously we take our pledge to engage with the huge young population in Turkey and across the Olympic Movement,” Istanbul 2020 Chairman Hasan Arat said. “Turkey’s youth are at the very heart of our bid, our greatest natural resource and our brightest prospect for the future – so it is right that we should turn to them to help us bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games to Turkey for the very first time.”

Turkey produces more than 700,000 graduate students per annum and youth unemployment has dropped with the creation of 4.7 million jobs since 2009.

“At the IOC Congress in Copenhagen in 2009, the IOC said that ‘the youth of the world are at the heart of the Olympic Movement’, and we fully subscribe to that belief,” Arat said. “If we are awarded the honour of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the first time, Istanbul 2020 will be the ideal platform for engaging young people. By giving sport and the Olympic Values a more central role in the lives of the next generation in Turkey and beyond, we can help them fulfil their true potential. In the final days, we hope to demonstrate to the IOC that a Games in Istanbul will offer the Olympic Movement a unique opportunity to connect with this untapped potential and provide a bridge to new audiences in fresh, exciting markets.”

The Istanbul 2020 Games Plan’s youth engagement strategy is based on four pillars: Olympic Education, Olympic and Paralympic Sports Promotion, Communications and Engagement, and Community Activation. The Bid also started a Youth and Education Steering Committee to fulfil the needs of young people at all stages of Games planning and delivery.

“I am proud to have so many of our young people with us in Buenos Aires during this historic moment for our country and region,” Arat said. “We have an obligation to create an environment in which they can excel in sport, in education, in work, and in life. A Games in Istanbul would certainly offer them unprecedented opportunities.”

Turkey’s National Sports Plan is investing $500 million per year into sports development and participation programmes and a government-invested $2.5 billion will see world-class sports facilities available for the community after the Games have ended, whether Istanbul is awarded the Games or not.

“Getting more young people than ever before in Turkey to participate in sport is a key priority of our bid,” Arat said. “Istanbul 2020 will stimulate a dramatic increase in mass sports participation by creating a generation of Olympic and Paralympic heroes for our youth to follow. Our meticulously planned venue strategy will guarantee that world-class sports facilities are available at no or low cost for the community post-Games, ensuring that our youth continue to play and stay in sport."

Istanbul is bidding against Madrid and Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games. The International Olympic Committee will select the Host City at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires this Saturday, 7 September.

Keywords · International Olympic Committee · IOC · Olympics · Olympic Bidding · Istanbul 2020 · Turkey ·

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