Exclusive: Istanbul is ready to host the Olympics, says FINA vice-president

Sunday, 16 December 2012
By Emily Goddard at the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul

fina istanbul 2012December 16 - There is no question that Istanbul is ready to host the Olympics, FINA vice-president Dale Neuburger has said as he threw his support behind the Turkish city's bid for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Speaking to insidethegames here at the FINA World Short Course Championships, the former USA Swimming President who has been FINA vice-president for the Americas since 2000, has been delighted by Istanbul's hosting of the global swimming tournament, which concludes tonight.

"It's been a fantastic event," said Neuburger, who is also the FINA technical swimming committee bureau liaison and technical delegate for this event.

"The Organising Committee has done an outstanding job to ensure an athlete centred competition and in our view that is the most important component of any event, giving the athletes a chance to perform at their very best.

"It has been a very exciting experience and there is no question that Istanbul is ready to host other major global sporting events.

"There is no question that Istanbul is ready to host the Olympics."

Ryan Lochte has been on superb form in IstanbulAmerican Ryan Lochte has been on superb form in Istanbul

More than 160 National Federations have sent over 900 of the sport's top athletes to the event here, which started on Wednesday (December 12), and spectators have witnessed superb performances, including two world record-breaking swims from America's Ryan Lochte in the 100 and 200 metres individual medleys.

"This World Championships has been one that has included both established swimming stars and bright new stars that are likely to be successful at Rio 2016 [the next Summer Olympics]," Neuburger added. 

"Coming just months after the 2012 Olympics it has been a perfect moment for many of our great swimmers and we've have had fantastic performances here from many stars that did well in London.

"The performances here of the young athletes also show that our future is very bright."

Neuburger was equally impressed by the host venue – Europe's largest multi-purpose indoor sports arena which played host to Serena Williams' Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Championships victory this winter, before transforming in to an elite swimming arena featuring a demountable pool.

Sinan Erdem Arena11212Dale Neuburger has been delighted with the Sinan Erdem Arena

He also praised the logistics of the competition.

"The venue has been a great advance for us in a modern arena in a major city that has experience in other world championship events," he said.

"The conditions have exceeded our expectations.

"The hotels are superb and the travel distances from the hotel to the venue and also to the airport are very approximate.

"World Championships are among the most important of events and Istanbul has done an exceptional job."

His positive comments are the latest to come from a number of sport's most respected figures, delivering a boost to Istanbul 2020, which is in a bidding race with Madrid and Tokyo for the hosting rights of the 2020 Games.

Earlier in the week, Istanbul's hosting of the World Championships was praised by Bob Bowman – coach to the most decorated Olympian of all time, America's Michael Phelps – who also endorsed the Turkish city's 2020 Olympic and Paralympic bid, while Olympic swimming legend Mark Spitz gave his support back in July.

The American nine times Olympic gold medallist spoke out in favour of the Turkish city after swimming in the Cross-continental Race, a 6.5 kilometre event across the Bosphorus from Kanlıca on the city's Asian side to Kuruçeşme on the European side, organised by the National Olympic Committee of Turkey (NOCT).

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