Istanbul 2020’s senior bid leadership arrived in Lima today for the 15th IOC World Conference on Sport for All, stating that Turkey’s first ever Olympic and Paralympic Games will be the catalyst for a huge rise in mass sport participation, particularly among the nation’s 31 million young people under the age of 25.
Istanbul 2020 Chairman, Hasan Arat said, “Istanbul 2020 can be a bridge to an historic impact for the Olympic Movement and the young people of Turkey. Nearly 50% of Turkey’s population is under 25 and we produce around 700,000 university graduates every year. Our Games will provide them with a generation of opportunities across the sports sector, and they are ready to take up the baton for the Olympic Movement. An Olympic and Paralympic Games in Istanbul in 2020 really will mean, ‘Sport for All’.”
The Istanbul 2020 delegation will be looking to learn the latest best practices in the field of Sport for All from the Conference’s 300-plus participants, as well as sharing some of its own. Turkey’s drive to get more young people into sport is epitomised by the National Sports Plan: a wide-ranging, transformative government programme that provides for an investment of $500 million annually in sports participation and development through low- or no-cost activities. This is being complemented by a $1.77 billion government investment that will deliver 415 accessible, high-quality community and elite-level sports facilities and 24 new stadia across Turkey by 2014.Istanbul 2020’s Director of Sport; Alp Berker said, “Our concept has been developed to harness the massive social benefits of making sport more accessible to young people. Istanbul 2020 will reinvigorate grass roots sports, so that more young people than ever before in Turkey will play and stay in sport, particularly sports considered ‘non-traditional’ in our part of the world. The Olympic City will serve 600,000 people as a ‘live, work, play’ community after the Games, promoting healthy lifestyles and the values of Olympism, and supporting high-performance sport.”