Following the successful end of the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul Sunday, Sports Minister Suat Kilic said, “we have taken one more firm step towards the Olympics. This was a rehearsal (for the Olympics) and we prevailed”.
After Turkey was awarded the IAAF Championships, a new 7,450-seat athletics arena was constructed which cost about TL 32 million. According to the Zaman, the Atakoy Athletics Arena is the first athletics-only venue in Turkey.
Turkish Athletics Federation President Mehmet Terzi said that the federation did a perfect job. He said the championships have become an important reference for Istanbul’s Olympic bid, adding that the presidents and managers of the federations of 172 countries are grateful to the Turkish authorities for their hospitality.
Hasan Arat, a leading member of Istanbul 2020 and Vice President of Turkey’s National Olympic Committee, called it “fantastic to see every seat filled and every spectator cheering all weekend, even when there were no Turkish athletes competing. Our sportsman and women have shown they can compete with the very best in the world, and just as importantly, so have our local organizing committee staff, and our fans. We are just beginning to unlock this city’s full potential as an international sports capital; Istanbul 2020 will unite Turkey’s designs for the future and the ambitions of our bright, talented young people”.