Every sports activity teaches peace and solidarity
YONCA TOKBAŞThere is a list for everything in the world. There is one for cities, another for buildings, venues, bars and restaurants.
When there is a list, the place at the top always draws the most attraction.
For instance, “The world’s tallest building” is a center of attraction for thousands of people. There is the fastest car, the largest lake and the smallest island.
There is also the fastest marathon. It is the Berlin Marathon. The reason it’s called the fastest marathon is because world records are broken in this 42.2-kilometer marathon.
In the world of runners, whoever says “I am going to run in the Berlin Marathon,” the reply would definitely be, “Oh, it is the fastest marathon in the world.” That is its reputation goes.
I thought about this last weekend in Antalya’s Belek, during the second Gloria Ironman 70.3. I asked the Ironmen to confirm my thoughts. I asked the organizers, I asked the champions who have participated in several Ironman races held in various cities in the world, I asked friends, coaches, athletes…
Such an environment has been created that Gloria Ironman 70.3 could become the fastest 70.3 Ironman race in the world. It would deservedly gain “the fastest” reputation and all the athletes would attend it in order to break records and mark their best scores.
The Gloria Serenity Resort, where the 1.9-kilometer swim starts, is a fantastic place. I ran inside this resort and I was not able to understand how I ran 21 kilometers inside the same venue. We ran through forests, ponds, greenery in an unbelievably lovely setting.
One starts the swim there and finish there. For the 90-kilometer cycling parkour again the start and the finish are there. For the 21-kilometer half-marathon, you start running there and you finish in the Gloria Sports Arena.
The place where you finish is an enormous sports arena. The hotel is a venue totally focused on sports and the athletes.
They have created an Ironman half-parkour with mild slope, thus the race proceeds at an incredible pace.
Frankly, such a well-planned and well-detailed sports complex made my jaw drop.
They even had an ice-pool. What else could one want?
I was always green with envy whenever I went to the Olympic pool in Dubai where I practice, and the 180-kilometer parkour specifically made for cycling.
The late Nuri Özaltın must have been a person with vision. After seeing this complex, one wants to be a fulltime athlete. I truly enjoyed participating as an athlete.
Especially after a year full of sorrows, deaths and terrorist attacks that scared away tourists and stopped life, I thought of how foreign athletes would speak about this extraordinary scene when they go back to their countries, and I felt proud.
It goes beyond sports tourism. While we were competing there, families, young children and babies in their pushchairs also enjoyed this fabulous environment.
Volunteers also deserve a big thank you, surprising me with their performances.
My team “Kuzenbirlik” had a lot of fun and was able to complete the race. Next year, we intend to compete individually.
It is a very positive thing to encourage each other for sports, to support a family member training, and to stand by that person. It changes that person’s and their kids’ chemistry and life.
Every sports organization teaches people unity, peace, understanding, sports conduct and solidarity. These are the things that our country needs more than anything else.