Istanbul 2020 Plays Prominent Role at Youth and Sports Day

May 20, 2013

Istanbul 2020 played a major role at the celebration of Youth and Sports Day, impotent one of the world’s only national holidays to make young people more active in sport and healthy living.

On Sunday May 19, Istanbul 2020 sponsored a fun run from Dolmabahçe Palace to Bebek Park in the Be?ikta? area of the city, with over 2,000 people running the course.

Turkey’s Youth and Sports Day has been celebrated every year since 1938 in commemoration of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who believed that sport and the values of fair play and teamwork should be fundamental to Turkish society.

Chairman of the Istanbul 2020 Bid Committee, Hasan Arat, said: “Atatürk’s wish for 19 May to be commemorated as Youth and Sports Day shows how he viewed sport as a powerful way of promoting the values of Olympism in Turkey.

“These fundamental principles have been preserved in Turkey and are encapsulated in our Games offering.

“Istanbul 2020 aims to realise the full potential of Turkey’s 31 million people under 25 through mass sport participation and structured education and entrepreneurial programmes.”

President of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey, U?ur Erdener, said: “Youth and Sports Day is one of the most enthusiastically celebrated holidays in Turkey, and having a national youth festival with a specific sports angle is unique to our country.

“The investment in sports infrastructure will benefit all levels of sport participation in Turkey from grassroots through to elite level.

“Many of the state-of-the-art facilities that will serve Olympic athletes in 2020 will serve as both elite and recreational sport resources after the Games.”