Istanbul 2020 has revealed a new team of bid ambassadors for the final days of its Olympic bid campaign: 50 young athletes under the age of 25, who will sit in the front row of the Istanbul 2020 delegation for Saturday’s final presentation and embody Istanbul 2020’s commitment to engaging the youth of the world.
The 50 Young Ambassadors – comprising half the official Istanbul 2020 delegation – were announced at a press briefing for the international media in Buenos Aires (pictured). They represent the huge youth population in Turkey, where nearly half of the population is under-25, making it the youngest country in Europe.
Istanbul 2020 Chairman Hasan Arat said:
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. 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.
Hasan Arat described the wide-ranging youth engagement strategy Istanbul 2020 will pursue should they be awarded the Games. It is based on four pillars: Olympic Education; Olympic and Paralympic Sports Promotion; Communications and Engagement; and Community Activation. Istanbul 2020 made a commitment to establishing a Youth and Education Steering Committee in its Candidature File, to ensure that the needs and aspirations of young people are taken into consideration at all stages of Games planning and delivery. It is hoped that a number of the young people in Buenos Aires with Istanbul 2020 this week will play a prominent role in that committee.
Turkey is already fully committed to investing in its young people’s future. The National Sports Plan is currently investing $500 million annually into sports development and participation programmes and a further $2.5 billion government investment will deliver 693 sports facilities and 25 new stadia across Turkey by 2014. This huge investment will continue irrespective of the Games outcome.
Getting more young people than ever before in Turkey to participate in sport is a key priority of our bid. 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 2020’s campaign theme is History in the Making. Its delegation for the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires will be headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Erdoğan will be joined by Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey for Economic and Financial Affairs, Ali Babacan, the Minister for Youth and Sport, Suat Kılıç, and the Mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbaş.
They will bolster a strong Istanbul 2020 Bid Committee led by IOC member and President of the Turkish National Olympic Committee and World Archery Federation, Professor Uğur Erdener, and Istanbul 2020 Bid Chairman, Hasan Arat. The delegation will also include Istanbul 2020 CEO, Ali Kiremitçioğlu, Istanbul 2020 Sports Director, Alp Berker, Turkish NOC Secretary General, Neşe Gündoğan.
Hasan Arat said:
History in the making was a natural choice as the theme for the last days of our campaign. Istanbul 2020 offers the Olympic Movement a number of historic firsts: the first Games in Turkey; the first Games staged across two continents simultaneously; the first Games in a nation where nearly half the population is under-25. By choosing Istanbul 2020, the IOC will be choosing to make history.
Bid sponsor, Turkish Airlines is helping to make an Istanbul 2020 Games one of the most accessible by air ever, following the news that the direct flight from Istanbul to Kathmandu, launching in the next few weeks, will make Nepal the 108th country on the Turkish Airlines network. Turkish Airlines can already offer direct flights to Istanbul to more than 50% of the 204 nations who participated at London 2012, and that proportion is set to increase over the next seven years. Olympic Family members from countries not served directly by Turkish Airlines will be able to travel to Istanbul on one of over 120 other international airlines that fly into the city’s Atatürk International Airport. As a result, Istanbul 2020 is well placed to ensure the comfort of all Olympic client groups and help optimise athlete performance ahead of training camps and competition.
Ali Kiremitçioğlu, Istanbul 2020 CEO, said:
Istanbul’s location at the crossroads of three continents maximises connectivity for the Olympic Family. Istanbul is the fifth most visited city in the world, with 12 million visitors visiting annually, so it is important that we as a city are globally accessible in order to meet the international demand. If we are awarded the honour of hosting the Games in 2020, we will welcome hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world and the majority of these visitors will be able to fly directly from their home country to Istanbul.