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  • Turkey Gears up for Trabzon Olympic Festival


    Trabzon is located on the Black Sea. (Trabzon 2011)
    (ATR) A successful European Youth Olympic Festival in Trabzon, Turkey is the perfect platform for a 2020 Olympic bid from Istanbul, European Olympic Committees president Patrick Hickey tells Around the Rings
    The Turkish government is currently weighing up the pros and cons of bidding for a fifth Olympics following four failed attempts. It is expected to announce its intentions within the next two weeks.

    "If Istanbul is going to make a bid, certainly the Trabzon Games will be a great platform, if they show they can run a very good event at that level. It is then a great indicator of bigger things to come," Hickey told ATR.

    In staging the EYOF in Trabzon on the Black Sea coast, Turkey is holding its biggest Olympic event, he noted.

    Around 4,000 young athletes and officials from the 49 National Olympic Committees of Europe are descending on the city. Some 1,400 volunteers will be on hand to help delegations from the competing countries

    "They [Turkey] haven't had a multi-sport event like this for a long, long time," said Hickey.

    "It is a way of showing they are certainly on the European
    The EYOF mascot.

    "From our technical people who have been there for a week everything looks top-class," he said of the organization and venues.

    "I have every confidence in them to deliver a great EYOF. They have been hugely cooperative and have put a lot of resources into it."

    The format for the 11th edition of the Summer EYOF is unchanged from the last one in Tampere, Finland two years ago.
    Athletes will stay at the Olympic Festival Village at Karadeniz Technical University. The program includes six individual sports (athletics, gymnastics, judo, tennis, cycling and swimming) and three team sports (basketball, handball and volleyball).

    The opening ceremony takes place at the Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium on Sunday evening

    Hickey said the Turkish president and prime minister and around six IOC members would be among dignitaries at the ceremony.

    Trabzon, population 300,000, is most famous for its football club Trabzonspor, founded in 1967. The city hosted the first Black Sea Games in 2007.

    With reporting from Mark Bisson

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