94 pct of Istanbul residents support 2020 Olympics bid

94 pct of Istanbul residents support 2020 Olympics bid

ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
94 pct of Istanbul residents support 2020 Olympics bid

The chief of the IOC evaluation commission for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Craig Reedie (standing, 3R), and IOC members attend a demonstration at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium on March 24 in Istanbul as former Namibian Olympic athlete (2R) Frankie Fredericks, a silver medalist in the 100m and 200m races in Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996, prepares to run with young athletes. AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Public support among Istanbul residents to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games is much stronger than the city’s two rivals, Tokyo and Madrid, the head of the bid committee said March 24.

“We have made our measurements and transmitted them to the IOC [International Olympic Committee]. The [support] level is in a quite positive trend. We reached 94 percent [in the latest measurement],” said Hasan Arat as an International Olympic Committee delegation kicked off a four-day inspection of the city’s capacity to hold the event. 

The support level is around 76 percent in Madrid and 70 in Tokyo.  

Following a welcoming address from President Abdullah Gül, the IOC delegation members visited several key installations, including the 76,000-seat Atatürk Olympic Stadium, which was built during a previous, failed bid to host the Summer Games, as well as the 52,000-seat Seyrantepe Stadium, which is home to Galatasaray’s football club. They were taken to the Olympic Stadium by a subway line that has not yet been opened to the public. 
Noting that the IOC made its last visit to Istanbul in 2001 during the competition to host the 2008 Olympic Games, Arat said the first day had been extremely “fruitful.” 

“Turkey has changed a lot since the IOC’s last visit. Turkey has bid four times in the past as a developing country, but now it is bidding as a developed country. We have worked and trained just like an Olympic athlete. As our country developed and grew, we listened and learned,” Arat said. “We are ready to organize an Olympic event based on technical excellence.”
Arat also said the motto of Istanbul’s bid would be revealed on March 25. 
The IOC delegation will meet Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek on March 25, and Tourism and Culture Minister Ömer Çelik and Transport and Communications Minister Binali Yıldırım a day later. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will also host the committee for a dinner at the historic Esma Sultan Mansion located in the Ortaköy neighborhood along the Bosphorus on March 26.