The World Indoor Champs 2012 gave your editor a chance to visit the Ataköy Arena and the wonderful city of Istanbul. I stayed in a tiny hotel, quite colorful, in the center of the city, and would take a taxi to the Arena each day. One day, I found a coffee shop with ornate coffee machines and wrote their all day, enjoying Turkish coffee, some local sweets, and the hospitality of the family who owned the shop. During the day, the family left to go to prayer, as many observant Muslims do. I packed up my things to leave, so as not to cause an issue with them closing the store. The owner, in quite good English, asked me why I was leaving, and I told him out of respect for his family and did not want to stop them from going to their prayer. He said, ” Are you going to steal my espresso machine? If not, then, you can stay, we will be back soon.” I stayed, enjoying the strong coffee, the wonderful wifi, and the hospitality of the Turkish family.
I wish I could have been there this week.
Stuart Weir will be on-site to cover the EA Indoor Champs for RunBlogRun and I will cover remotely from Wisconsin.
The wonders of technology.
The European Indoor Athletics Championships takes place 2-5 March in Istanbul. The question has to be asked if the event should go ahead after the tragic earthquake which has already killed over 50,000 people. The center of the earthquake in the Adiyaman region is over 800 miles from Istanbul.
Immediately, European Athletics issued the following statement: “It was with great sorrow that European Athletics heard the news about the devastating earthquake which hit Turkey and Syria yesterday (6 February). On behalf of the European Athletics Council and the whole athletics community, we would like to express our deepest condolences, sympathy, and support for all affected people in these hard times.
“We understand that people will have questions regarding the Istanbul 2023 European Athletics Indoor Championships, which is due to take place at the Ataköy Arena on 2-5 March. At this moment, all the preparations for the event are going as planned. We are coordinating with the Turkish Athletic Federation, the Istanbul 2023 Local Organising Committee, and the relevant authorities, and will provide all assistance and support as and when needed”.
Malaika Mihambo, who is planning to compete in at European Champs said this week: “I would definitely understand if the European Indoor Championships can’t be held in Istanbul due to the current tragic situation. Of course, I would love to compete, but if that’s not possible, I would totally understand. People are so much more important than the competition”.
Jazmin Sawyers, Ivana Vuleta, Malaika Mihambo, 2022 European Outdoor Championships, photo by European Athletics
As time passed it became clear that the Turkish government wanted the event, which will boost the local economy, to go ahead.
593 athletes from 47 countries will compete including such global stars as Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Malaika Mihambo, and Femke Bol. Great Britain will take 30 athletes including Laura Muir, Keely Hodgkinson, and Neil Gourley.