Officials in Turkey believe that Erzurum is ready to organize the 2026 Olympic Winter Games, and that it would be a great opportunity for the region, and Winter Sports in the country.
Last week the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Erzurum was among seven bids to confirm interest in hosting the Games, and the city would be the first in Turkey to ever vie for the Winter edition.
According to NTV in Turkey, AK Party Deputy Professor Musatafa Ilicali who is responsible for Civil Engineering said that facilities already built in the region will impress the IOC.
A statement by the Turkish Olympic Committee listed the 2011 Winter Universiade, 2017 Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF), the 2012 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship, the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating Series 2014/15, two FIS Continental Cups and a FIS SBX World Cup on its resume of hosting experience.
Ilicali said “At that time large facilities were built and this caused the construction of new flats.”
“And we prepared a detailed report with a sense of courage that would lead to the development of the region, and before the report came to Erzurum, I gave my remarks to the President of the Republic of Turkey.
“I am very happy and proud in the name of the region and I believe that the technical team coming to Erzurum will be very pleased from there. Erzurum is ready with infrastructure for the Olympics.”
The IOC will be sending personnel to review Erzurum’s plans in the coming months before extending invitations to qualified bids during a meeting on October 3 and 4.
Most other interested bidders are still seeking stakeholder support for their project but Erzurum already has assurances from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that the bid will move ahead
Turkey Ski Federation President Erol Yarar sees additional opportunities from hosting the Games, including the potential to add and upgrade existing venues. But that will require spending.
He said “In Erzurum, in terms of physical facilities we will need new investment to win 2026 Olympics. Turkey has sufficient knowledge and experience with many international [sport] organizations.”
Yarar also explained that the 2026 bid is a good opportunity for Turkey to develop successful Winter Olympic athletes.
“Sporting success is very important,” he said.
Turkey has failed to earn any medals at the Winter Olympics, and sent only eight athletes to PyeongChang in February to compete in figure skating, skiing and ski-jumping events.
The IOC will elect a host city in September 2019.