Istanbul will hold the 2023 World Olympians Forum ©Getty Images

Istanbul has been named the host of another sporting gathering, this time the World Olympians Association (WOA) World Olympians Forum.

The Turkish city is set to hold the third edition of the event next year, with dates not yet announced.

Istanbul has already staged International Boxing Association and International Gymnastics Federation Congresses this year.

The World Olympians Forum is billed as an opportunity for Olympians to interact around the best ways to spread Olympic values.

Bringing prominent members of the Olympic Movement to Istanbul could also be a shrewd move for a city which has made persistent by unsuccessful bids to stage the Olympics.

Istanbul entered the race for the 2020 Olympics only to finish runner-up to Tokyo and also was unsuccessful in bidding for each of the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 editions.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has signalled his intention to bid for the 2036 Olympic Games, although Turkish Olympic Committee President Uğur Erdener told insidethegames in August that a formal meeting about that ambition had not yet been held.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu wants the city to stage the 2036 Olympics  ©Getty Images
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu wants the city to stage the 2036 Olympics ©Getty Images

Next year's World Olympians Forum - which follows a 2015 event in Moscow and the 2019 edition in Lausanne - will coincide with centenary celebrations of the Republic of Turkey's founding.

Russians and Belarusians are expected to be allowed to take part, given the WOA has declared its opposition to an International Olympic Committee recommendation that athletes from the two countries ban banned from international sport because of the war in Ukraine.

"It is a huge honour to be a part of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic," WOA President Joël Bouzou said.

"Olympians are the living embodiment of the values of the Olympic Movement. 

"The World Olympians Forum is a place for Olympians of all continents to share their stories of how they give back to their communities, to inspire each other and to share best practices.

"The two previous editions of the WOF led to many more projects being initiated by Olympians around the world to bring together their communities, provide sporting opportunities for disadvantaged youth, help fight obesity and inactivity and to protect the environment. 

"We are looking forward to working with the city of Istanbul to empower even more Olympians to make the world a better place through sport."

The war in Ukraine has seen Turkey take on a leadership role in global affairs, as well as stepping in as a replacement host for sporting events moved because of sanctions imposed on Russia.

Istanbul last month stepped in to host the University World Cup 3×3 Basketball which had to be moved from China ©FISU
Istanbul last month stepped in to host the University World Cup 3×3 Basketball which had to be moved from China ©FISU

Authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan helped negotiate a deal for Ukraine to export grain by sea and has walked a fine line, meeting with both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Turkey also hosted the Islamic Solidarity Games this year in Konya, as well as university sport events moved from China because of that country's stringent COVID-19 restrictions.

Speaking on the World Olympians Forum, İmamoğlu added the "Olympic philosophy" was "at the centre of" Istanbul's focus.

"As Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, the governing body of Europe's largest city, we aim to bring the great impact of sport and the Olympic Movement to everyone in our city," the Mayor said.

"A major part of our strategy is to welcome to our city Olympians, who are the most important representatives of the Olympic philosophy, so we can benefit from their knowledge and experience. 

"We are ready to prepare a great environment for the WOA through the World Olympians Forum to inspire our athletes, our youth and our entire community."