ISTANBUL, March 1 (Xinhua) -- More than 400 sports leaders and government officials held the International Sports Summit here on Friday as the first step toward Istanbul' s bid for the 2020 Olympics.
Suat Kilic, Turkish Minister of Youth and Sports, claimed at the meeting that Istanbul is deserved for the host of the 2020 Olympics because it has been on this process for a long time. " We had bid for four times and now on the fifth."
He said that the bidding process has been supported by the Turkish government and parliament while Istanbul has become the top 5 tourist destination in the world, receiving 15 million tourists every year.
Hasan Arat, who heads Istanbul 2020 Bid committee, is optimistic about the city's fifth bid, stating that over the past several years the city has seen the development of new venues and infrastructure improvements. Turkey's fast growing economy can also greatly benefit the bid.
Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone was also present at the meeting, offering his advice to Turkish Olympics organizing committee. "I would vote for Istanbul if I have one vote."
The summit aims to introduce Istanbul, an ambitious candidate for the 2020 Olympic Games, and talk about the socio-economic contributions that would come from hosting the Olympics.
The first of its kind, the International Summit will become an annual event in the near future, according to the official statement.
Hosting a series of prominent speakers, from football coach Fatih Terim to representatives of Turkish and Brazilian Olympics committees, panels at the event focused on the economics of the Olympics, violence in sports events, the notion of fair play and the forming of brands in sports.
Istanbul 2020 is a bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics by the city of Istanbul and the National Olympic Committee of Turkey. The winning bid will be announced on September 7, 2013 at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires.
The main rivals agaisnt Istanbul are Tokyo and Madrid.
The National Olympic Committee of Turkey announced the selection of Istanbul as Turkey's candidate on July 7, 2011. Turkey's candidacy was announced officially by Prime Minister Erdogan on August 13, 2011. Enditem
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