Konya ready to host thousands in int’l event, says minister
KONYA - Demirören News Agency
Türkiye will hold fifth Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya, with some 4,000 international athletes coming to the central Anatolian province, Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu has said.
Konya is expected to host 6,000 people, including more than 4,000 athletes from 56 countries and tens of thousands of sports fans, said Kasapoğlu, adding that the facilities and human resource are ready for the event to be held in Konya between Aug. 9 and 18.
“The countdown has started. We will come together with the unifying power of sports in accordance with the spirit of the Islamic Solidarity Games. I wish success to the athletes that we expect to show a friendship in the strongest way.” said Kasapoğlu.
“We are a hospitable, generous nation that brings justice, love and compassion wherever it goes in the world. Konya will host this organization in the best way possible,” Kasapoğlu said, adding that the young volunteer staff will personally contribute.
Kasapoğlu visited Türkiye’s first Olympic velodrome track and Olympic swimming pool, where the races will be held.
A FIBA approved basketball court will also be opened, according to the minister. Underlining that basketball is one of the branches the government care about the most, Kasapoğlu reiterated that 10,000 basketball hoops were installed in Konya earlier.
The minister also pointed out that all the facilities, which will be opened with a ceremony with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will continue to serve after the games. “They will make a great contribution not only locally, but also nationally and internationally,” Kasapoğlu said.
The fourth of Islamic Solidarity Games were held in Azerbaijan between May 12 and 22, 2017. Türkiye ranked second in the event after Azerbaijan with a total of 195 medals, 71 gold, 67 silver and 57 bronze.
Türkiye participated in the third of the organization, which were held in Indonesia’s Palembang province between Sept. 22 and Oct. 1 in 2013, with 157 athletes in the athletics, archery, swimming, badminton, basketball, football, karate, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, beach volleyball, weightlifting and wushu disciplines.
The country came fifth in the general classification with 23 gold, 31 silver and 49 bronze medals.
The first of the Islamic Solidarity Games, the second of which was canceled, was held in Saudi Arabia between April 8 and 20 in 2005 with the participation of nearly 6,000 athletes from 55 countries. Türkiye competed in karate, taekwondo, tennis, swimming and goalball and won a total of 7 medals, including 1 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals, finishing the event in 15th place.
The Islamic Solidarity Games, which are held every four years, aims to increase social, political, economic, intellectual and cultural cooperation between Islamic countries, and promote Islamic values, portray national treasures and gain mutual acquaintance, especially for disadvantaged countries.
The games will be accompanied by intellectual panels and discussions which will help to highlight the importance of the games, as well as the benefits it provides, the minister added.