Indoor events will be key for 2020 bid, Bubka says
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Former world and Olympic pole vault champion Sergey Bubka poses with the mascots of the 2012 World Indoor Athletics Championships as he arrives in Istanbul. AA photoThis weekend’s 2012 World Indoor Athletics Championships in Istanbul will leave Turkey a great legacy and support its bid for the Olympic Games, a top athletics official said yesterday.
“I have seen the facilities and they are not only great for the IAAF [International Association of Athletics Federations] but also for Turkey and athletics in Turkey as well. I am very optimistic about this championship,” Ukrainian pole vault legend and current IAAF official Sergey Bubka said at a press conference in Istanbul yesterday. “This facility will be great for athletics for the future. It is a great opportunity and will leave a great legacy for future success.”
The Ataköy Sports Hall, which will host the top names in athletics at the World Indoor Athletics Championships between March 9 and 11, was built with a budget of 32 million Turkish Liras, after fears that it would not be completed in time.
Now that the sports hall is complete, the Turkish Athletics Federation (TAF) chairman Mehmet Terzi said the country would benefit from its efforts.
“A total of 32 million TL was spent, but we are not interested in its financial return,” Terzi said. “What we aim to see are future champions being raised in that sports hall.”
A former Olympic gold medalist and winner of multiple world championships, Bubka is now the vice president of the IAAF, and acknowledged that Istanbul, the host of the upcoming championships, would benefit from the event in its bid for the 2020 Olympic Games.
Sergey Bubka said pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva,
who set a new world indoor record with 5.01 last
month, can break another world indoor record in
Istanbul. AP photo
“You have a very young nation and fantastic potential. When I see how the government invests money in this facility, this will give the future generations progress. But it is also important to go to the kids, the schools, the grassroots,” Bubka added.
He said Turkey needed time to see the results: “Turkey has a fantastic economy and with investment in sports, you will see the results, but of course you need time,” Bubka said. “The bid for the 2020 games will be a great step for the Olympic movement – for the youth, to increase knowledge of coaching and the spirit of athletics.”
However, Bubka also acknowledged that the race for the 2020 Olympic Games, where Istanbul is competing with the likes of Madrid, Tokyo, Doha and Baku, would not be an easy one.
“Istanbul has made a very strong bid. It was a great job by the National Olympic Committee, the government and the sports federations,” Bubka said. “But it is a difficult competition. The bidding team is very strong, but they must work day and night.
“I believe you have a good chance, and this is the sixth time Istanbul has bid,” the former pole vault hero said. “It is very difficult to predict; there is tough competition and I wish you luck.”