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Istanbul offers unrivalled athlete experience as 2020 decision approaches

The delegations from Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo are now gathered in Buenos Aires to receive the decision of the IOC on 7 September.

Istanbul 2020 has promised athletes an unrivalled Olympic and Paralympic Games experience that places them at the centre of its iconic hosting concept. Istanbul 2020’s plans also offer athletes reserved seats in the stands at the Opening Ceremony so, for the first time in Olympic history, they can play a full part as the stars of the show and as spectators.

Speaking at a press briefing for the international media in Buenos Aires, Professor Uğur Erdener, IOC member and President of the Turkish NOC, said:

Right from the planning stage, Istanbul 2020 has sought to weave the city’s natural and architectural beauty into its hosting concept at all 37 Games venues. If Istanbul 2020 wins the right to host the Games in 2020, athletes will truly feel part of the city they are competing in, and part of an historic Olympic and Paralympic Games. I have no doubt this will inspire them to achieve the greatest athletic feats. Imagine being a marathon runner crossing continents over the Bosphorus Bridge, a triathlete racing alongside Istanbul’s 2,500 year-old city walls or a volleyball player spiking for the match with the Bosphorus at your back.

Istanbul has hosted more than 40 major sporting events over the past seven years and the response we have had from athletes is always the same: ‘we would love to compete in a Games here.’ Istanbul has that magic athletes thrive on and they will be at the centre of the greatest stage in 2020.

Istanbul 2020’s inspirational offering to athletes is reinforced by the most comprehensive support solution for athletes, NOCs and NPCs. Istanbul 2020 will have an Olympic Training Precinct and a free-to-use Athlete Recovery Centre available for all athletes within walking distance of the Olympic Village — an Olympic first.

Gizem Girişmen, who won Paralympic gold in archery at Beijing 2008, said:

We have a robust plan because we have listened to NOCs. We have addressed their concerns raised from previous Games and we will deliver the most comprehensive NOC solution and support package. Athletes spend around 80 per cent of their time in the Olympic Village or at training venues, so we have focused on placing facilities on their doorstep. Training venues for 22 sports will be within 15 minutes of the Athletes’ Village. The average journey time from Village to competition venues will be just 16 minutes.

Çağla Büyükakçay, Turkey’s number one female tennis player, said:

Istanbul 2020 will give athletes everything they need to compete at the highest possible level. With access to such great facilities in close proximity, athletes will be able to focus on doing what they do best. The welfare and performance of all sportsmen and women – whatever flag they are competing under – has been at the centre of all Istanbul 2020 planning from day one.