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Istanbul 2020 looks forward to final lap of exciting race and announces Paralympics innovation

The IOC Evaluation Commission concluded its inspection of Istanbul and the 2020 bid committee made a final announcement that it would stage the Paralympics in the same venues five days after the Olympics, if awarded the Games.

Commission Chairman, Sir Craig Reedie, said:

We have an excellent impression of the Bid Committee, and we have witnessed the strong support that the bid enjoys from the government, which was highlighted by the presence of President Gül this week. It has been a great pleasure to meet with so many Olympians, Paralympians, athletes and the Bid Committee – we have seen the enthusiasm for the Olympic Games that exists here in Istanbul.

Sir Craig Reedie (at Stadia & Arena 2010).

Sir Craig Reedie (at Stadia & Arena 2010).

Turkey’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Suat Kılıç said:

Istanbul has a young population which is excited about the Olympics. We have 11 million people who want the Games to come to Istanbul and 50% of those people are under the age of 25. Istanbul has been vocal about its ambitions for the Olympics. We are a humble city but have a long history as a bridge between different cultures and faiths.

Turkey’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Suat Kılıç.

Turkey’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Suat Kılıç.

IOC member and President of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey, Uğur Erdener, said:

As an IOC member and President of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey, I am particularly proud that, today, Istanbul’s Olympic ambitions received such positive feedback. This has been a long journey to get to this point, and all of Turkey will today feel that we are closer than ever to securing our nation’s first ever Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Evaluation Commission has tested our concept, and asked us many questions. I am sure that the Commission members have felt our passion, commitment and dedication to excellence. Let me take this opportunity to congratulate our fellow bid cities, Madrid and Tokyo, for the continued high standards of their candidature. We look forward to the final months of this exciting race.

The Mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbaş, commented on what hosting the Olympic Games would mean to Istanbul: The Istanbul 2020 bid has been a long process. Istanbul was to raise its voice and deliver a message of peace. This message has been embedded in us for many years as Istanbul has always been a home to multiple cultures. We want to use sport to continue to deliver our message of peace. It has always been our dream to host the Games; I hope we will have the honour of doing this in 2020.

Mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbaş.

Mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbaş.

Paralympics to use same venues as Olympics

Istanbul 2020 announced it will halve the standard transition time between Games phases at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, underlining the city’s focus on Paralympic integration.

Should Istanbul be awarded the Games, the traditional changeover time of seven to ten days between the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be cut to five.

On the ground this means both Games will be held in the same venues, with no additional competition locations required for the Paralympic Games. On top of sharing venues, only minimal refitting of stadiums and the Olympic Village will be needed.

The Istanbul 2020 panel who made the announcement included Paralympic archer Gizem Girişmen, a member of Turkey’s largest ever Paralympic team at London 2012, and the Director of Paralympic Integration at London 2012, Chris Holmes. Istanbul 2020 has based its Paralympic integration model on London 2012, which was successfully led by Holmes, a former Paralympian himself.