‘Three continents, one heart’ meet at Mediterranean Games
A large crowd chants songs during the opening ceremony of a facility that was developed for the 17th Mediterranean Games in Mersin. Turkey is hosting the games for the second time.Turkey, which has conducted above 700 international sports events over the last decade, is to host the Mediterranean Games for the second time in its history.
About 6,000 sportsmen from 32 different branches and 24 countries are to participate in the 17th Mediterranean Games that will be held between June 20 and 30, 2013. The southern province of Mersin, which is the homeland of the nearly extinct loggerhead sea turtle, and the place where Cleopatra once sunbathed, is to host a cut-throat competition between the sportsmen who will gather under the slogan of “three continents, one heart.” The 10-day games are crucial for Turkey since it will assess the country’s organization skills.
The games, which coincide with Istanbul’s candidacy for the 2020 Olympic Games, bears importance since it could be regarded as a rehearsal for the Olympics. The games that were in Greece’s hands for four years were assigned to Turkey in January 2011; 18 months before the organization. Within this limited period, Turkey has completed 54 sports facilities including 11 brand new ones, making them ready for the games. Turkey’s contracting sector, which ranks in second place after China, gave a good account of itself in Mersin. And now the sector takes pride in passing this challenging test.
While preparing Mersin for the games, the Turkish government has turned this new Mediterranean city, which has a hundred years of history, into an Olympic town. Mersin, which has turned into a mega city with the migration it has received in recent years, became one of the most fortunate cities in the history of the Turkish Republic.
Work of 7 years finalized in 18 months
The Sports Ministry met the city’s 50-year need of sport facilities within only 18 months. Turkey, the address of economic stability in the region, spent 400 million dollars from the central budget to construct these facilities.
The story of assigning Turkey to host the 17th Mediterranean Games was also interesting. Both domestic and foreign sports authorities regarded it as the “Turkish Miracle.”
The International Committee of Mediterranean Games (ICMG) gave the right to organize the 17th games to Greece’s Volos city after a poll held on October 28, 2007. However, at the end of these four years, Greece announced that it could not host the games due to the economic crisis the country experienced.
So, on February 23, 2011, another poll was conducted between Spain, Libya, and Turkey, and as a result the right to hold the event was given to Mersin. Considering the government change in Libya and economic crisis in Spain, ICMG seems to be pleased about this choice, too.
The international public, including the International Mediterranean Games Committee President Amar Addadi called the Mersin’s rapid turn into an Olympic city a “Turkish Miracle.”
ICMG President Amar Addadi, who often made tours of assessment to evaluate the preparation process in Mersin, said “Despite this major loss of time, unbelievable feats were accomplished. The fact that 11 new facilities were built in two short years is truly a giant miracle for us. These facilities will be a great inheritance for Mersin.”
Addadi also said Turkey truly deserved to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics after the experience it had in Mersin, and it had a bigger chance of getting the Olympics when compared to the other candidates.