Istanbul 2020 Olympic bid Chief Hasan Arat took to the podium at a press conference to wrap up day one of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission visit. He was beaming as he spoke about the day.
The last time the IOC evaluated Istanbul’s bid proposal was 12 years ago this month, and Arat reflected.
“Turkey has changed a lot of the past 10 years,” he said.
“It was a long journey. Turkey is changing a Turkey deserves the Games.
“This time Turkey is presenting as an emerged nation.
“I think this is a fantastic step forward for the Olympic movement, it’s a new gateway to a new region. “
Though Istanbul has been to this stage of the bid process twice before, this time the plan is different and improved according to Emir Turam, Communications director for the bid.
“Our plan is significantly different than our previous bid – and we are really proud of it,” he said.
“We began the 2020 planning process with a blank sheet of paper with the plans right in the centre, and reflected from feedback of the IOC, the IBC, and especially the recommendations from our athletes.”
In an attempt to bring the city into the village, the Olympic Athletes’ Village will feature a central marketplace with commercial and retail applications; a bazaar emulating the Famous Grand Bazaar of Istanbul.
“This is our country, we want you to feel it,” Nejal Sarp, Istanbul 2020 technical director said about the plans.
Sarp was in charge of Villages and Services for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
IOC members had their first taste of the plan Sunday afternoon when they toured some of the proposed venues.
In the Forest Cluster, the IOC visited Seyrantepe Stadium, home of Istanbul’s Galatarari Champion League football club, and apparently the world’s loudest fans. According to Guinness, in March 2011, fans at a match in the venue generated almost 132 decibels, a world record.
The stadium will be anchor to the Forest Cluster where new venues will be built for shooting, cycling and kayak in an undeveloped area in a growing community.
A new, unopened metro line currently under construction was temporarily put in service for both the IOC team and media covering the EC to commute to the Ataturk Olympic Stadium. The stadium, at the new “Olympic Station” metro stop was built seven years ago for Olympic use and the entire Olympic City Cluster has already been zoned by the government for Olympic use only. The area would be home to track and field, gymnastics, aquatics, tennis and other key events.
The new Istoc line is important and anticipated by the growing population of Istanbul and Arat said the use of the line by the IOC here today was even a surprise to the people of Istanbul. Poor traffic conditions in Istanbul has been concern surrounding the bid and improvements will be noted by the IOC. The stations are almost complete down to the cosmetics, and signage indicating directions to the Olympic Cluster were in place for the benefit of the tour.
The visit continues Monday when the IOC visits venues in the Bosphorus Zone and Coastal Zone, and reviews additional themes in Istanbul’s bid book.