BUENOS AIRES, Argentina--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Istanbul 2020 today revealed a new team of bid ambassadors for the final days of its Olympic bid campaign: 50 young athletes under the age of 25, who will sit in the front row of the Istanbul 2020 delegation for Saturday’s final presentation and embody Istanbul 2020’s commitment to engaging the youth of the world.
The 50 Young Ambassadors – comprising half the official Istanbul 2020 delegation – were announced at a press briefing for the international media in Buenos Aires today. They represent the huge youth population in Turkey, where nearly half of the population is under-25, making it the youngest country in Europe.
Speaking at today’s press briefing, Istanbul 2020 Chairman Hasan Arat said:
“The delegation we have here is a clear sign of how seriously we take our pledge to engage with the huge young population in Turkey and across the Olympic Movement. Turkey’s youth are at the very heart of our bid, our greatest natural resource and our brightest prospect for the future – so it is right that we should turn to them to help us bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games to Turkey for the very first time.”
There are twice as many high school students in Turkey than there were ten years ago, and the country is now producing 700,000 university graduates every year. Youth unemployment has actually dropped since the start of the global economic crisis – the creation of 4.7 million new jobs since 2009 has helped Turkey register some of the lowest youth unemployment rates in Europe.
For Hasan Arat and Istanbul 2020, this well-educated and aspirational generation offers exciting potential as global ambassadors for Turkey, sport and the Olympic Movement:
“At the IOC Congress in Copenhagen in 2009, the IOC said that ‘the youth of the world are at the heart of the Olympic Movement’, and we fully subscribe to that belief. If we are awarded the honour of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the first time, Istanbul 2020 will be the ideal platform for engaging young people. By giving sport and the Olympic Values a more central role in the lives of the next generation in Turkey and beyond, we can help them fulfil their true potential. In the final days, we hope to demonstrate to the IOC that a Games in Istanbul will offer the Olympic Movement a unique opportunity to connect with this untapped potential and provide a bridge to new audiences in fresh, exciting markets.”
Hasan Arat described the wide-ranging youth engagement strategy Istanbul 2020 will pursue should they be awarded the Games. It is based on four pillars: Olympic Education; Olympic and Paralympic Sports Promotion; Communications and Engagement; and Community Activation. Istanbul 2020 made a commitment to establishing a Youth and Education Steering Committee in its Candidature File, to ensure that the needs and aspirations of young people are taken into consideration at all stages of Games planning and delivery. It is hoped that a number of the young people in Buenos Aires with Istanbul 2020 this week will play a prominent role in that committee.
Hasan Arat continued:
“I am proud to have so many of our young people with us in Buenos Aires during this historic moment for our country and region. We have an obligation to create an environment in which they can excel in sport, in education, in work, and in life. A Games in Istanbul would certainly offer them unprecedented opportunities.”
Turkey is already fully committed to investing in its young people’s future. The National Sports Plan is currently investing $500 million annually into sports development and participation programmes and a further $2.5 billion government investment will deliver 693 sports facilities and 25 new stadia across Turkey by 2014. This huge investment will continue irrespective of the Games outcome.
“Getting more young people than ever before in Turkey to participate in sport is a key priority of our bid. Istanbul 2020 will stimulate a dramatic increase in mass sports participation by creating a generation of Olympic and Paralympic heroes for our youth to follow. Our meticulously planned venue strategy will guarantee that world-class sports facilities are available at no or low cost for the community post-Games, ensuring that our youth continue to play and stay in sport.”
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