Samsun; 06 June 2017: The Turkish Olympic Committee (TOC) concluded this year’s Olympic Day celebrations with a memorable event in Batıpark, Samsun, which saw 500 young people take part in a variety of fun and engaging sporting activities.
Young people gathered in Samsun to take part in mini-golf, handball, basketball and a selection of traditional Turkish children’s games. Ahead of the upcoming Deaflympics in Samsun from 18-30 July, there was particular focus on promoting the participation of deaf children in sport. There were a number of deaf children in attendance at the event who met with Oli, the mascot of Sports Culture and Olympic Education Project, and together said “Olympic Day” in sign language. Their participation was an important way of raising the profile of deaf people and the Deaflympics among Samsun residents.
Each year, the TOC organises a series of activities to celebrate Olympic Day and promote fitness, well-being, culture, education, and the Olympic values among Turkey’s young generation. This year, approximately 3000 young people have taken part in the celebrations across Turkey. Over the past month, children in attendance at the Olympic Day events have been taught about healthy lifestyles, the environment, nutrition, ethics in sport, the history of the Olympic Movement and Olympic values. The events were organised in cooperation with the municipalities of each city.
The first event was held in Gaziantep on 30 April, where 650 local children and Syrian refugees came together to play a variety of different sports. This was followed by a celebration in Muğla on 15 May, where approximately 1400 children practiced mini football, basketball, volleyball, athletics and some traditional Turkish games in the ancient city of Stratonikeia. In Antalya on 17 May, 250 children played golf and beach volley, and practiced archery before the penultimate event in Istanbul on 29 May. 200 children came together in Turkey’s largest city, where organisers used a drone camera to record the children forming the shape of the Olympic rings. All events ended with distribution of Olympic day t-shirts and participation certificates signed by Thomas Bach and Uğur Erdener.
Discussing the success of this year’s Olympic Day events, TOC President Professor Dr Uğur Erdener said:
“The TOC are proud to once again join the global celebration of the Olympic Movement and engage thousands of children with fun and interactive sporting activities. It is vitally important to the TOC that we continue to educate young people in Turkey on the benefits of sport for their mental and physical well-being, and on the importance of the Olympic values of friendship, excellence and respect.
“I was especially proud to see the same Syrian refugees who were part of our Support Through Sport Project also involved at our Olympic Day celebrations in Gaziantep. With the help of the IOC Emergency Fund for Refugees and the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, we have been able to provide greater accessibility to sport for Syrian children refugees. It was great to see them trying new activities alongside local children as they continue to integrate into their new community.
“This year’s activities have been a huge success and we are already looking forward to promoting the vital role sport plays in the development of our society again next year. On behalf of everyone at the TOC, I would like to thank all those who have contributed to this year’s celebrations – from our partners and participants to volunteers – you have all been crucial to the success of each event!”
Olympic Day is celebrated across the globe on June 23 to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games.
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