Konya Mayor Uğur İbrahim Altay is hoping to use the experience of staging the Islamic Solidarity Games to host further major events ©Konya 2021

Konya Mayor Uğur İbrahim Altay has described the Islamic Solidarity Games as "valuable" to staging further big sporting events in the future.

More than 6,000 athletes and officials have descended on the Turkish city to compete in the fifth edition of the Games that opened on Tuesday (August 9) and are due to finish on August 18.

It is the first time Turkey has hosted the multi-sport event and is said to be the biggest sporting competition to be held in Konya.

Altay claims the Games have helped to raise Konya’s profile as a destination for hosting major events.

"It’s very important for Konya to host such a big event for the Islamic world," Altay told insidethegames.

"Many people visit Turkey but not all of them visit Konya as they mostly go to Ankara or Istanbul.

"Many participating countries are being introduced to Konya and they have promoted the city.

"More than 6,000 sportspeople, referees and trainers have come to Turkey, and we believe that all our guests will leave Konya very pleased."

Konya Mayor Uğur İbrahim Altay, right, spoke to insidethegames senior reporter Geoff Berkeley in the Turkish city ©Konya 2021
Konya Mayor Uğur İbrahim Altay, right, spoke to insidethegames senior reporter Geoff Berkeley in the Turkish city ©Konya 2021

Altay added: "It is very valuable for people to tell the story of Konya.

"The Islamic Solidarity Games have been a warm-up and training for us, so we hope to host many more big events and use this experience."

Konya was announced by ACES Europe in March as the "World Capital of Sport 2023", following in the footsteps of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Guadalajara in Mexico and Spanish capital Madrid which have all held that title.

"I hope that Konya will be hosting many more national and international sports event in 2023," said Altay.

"In the long run I believe that this will be an opportunity for the youth of Konya to be more involved and encouraged to do sports.

"Konya also has very strong touristic capacity and infrastructure.

"I believe that people who follow the Games will see Konya and will come and visit and experience the geographical, natural and historical beauties of Konya."

The Islamic Solidarity Games are being staged a year later than planned due to disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 4,000 athletes from 54 countries are competing across 19 sports in Konya.

Atlay believes the staging of the Games will inject an economic boost to Konya and can lead to further events being held in the city over the next decade.

"I believe that the actual benefits will come after this because this has been the opportunity for television, internet and people to promote Konya around the world," said Altay.

"The Opening Ceremony was a very remarkable and memorable event.

"It will be remembered for a long time.

"The Islamic Solidarity Games have been the most important event that we have held in Konya so far, so the feedback we get and the experience and success we get from this event will shed a light on what is going to happen here in the next 10 years.

"The reaction of the sports people and the audience has shown us that the feedback is in our favour.

"Over the next 10 years we believe that we will be hosting many other events and not just sports events."