Chef de Mission, Christof Niklaus travelled to Samsun, Turkey for an inspection visit on behalf of DeaflympicsGB.
Christof visited all nine sports venues as well as the Deaflympics Village where the DeaflympicsGB team will be staying at for the duration of the Deaflympics. Christof met with several key members of the 23rd Deaflympics Organising Committee, where Christof was able to address several concerns over a number of points including security, travel, accommodation, accreditation, food services along several minor matters.
DeaflympicsGB will be competing in Athletics, Football (men and women), Golf, Swimming and Tennis at the 2017 Deaflympics. Most of the 2017 Deaflympics sport venues are ready for the major event in July which is under 135 days away. Recently the IAAF visited the Athletics venue in İlkadım and they were satisfied with the progress and that it will be finished by April 2017 and a test event will be run in May 2017 to ensure that it is ready for the Deaflympics.
The five football venues; Bafra Stadium, Carsamba Stadium, 19 Mayis Stadium, Derebahce Stadium and Tekkekoy Stadium were found to be in very good shape for the upcoming Deaaflympics except for Derebahce Stadium where there will be a final maintenance check in May 2017.
The golf venue is a brand new course with nine holes where one round of nine holes will be played differently to the second round of nine holes. Samsun Olympic Swimming Pool is a wonderful swimming pool, quite possibly the best swimming facilities to be provided for the Deaflympics ever. Samsun Tennis Club has eight courts with excellent facilities provided for the tennis players including a world class tennis racket stringer service and a massive gym.
2017 will see Samsun provide a Deaflympics Village for the first time ever in the Deaflympics. Participating countries has a choice of staying outside the Deaflympics Village in a hotel of their preferred choice or inside the Deaflympics Village which is a university with several excellent sport venues which will be used for training purposes. DeaflympicsGB will be staying in the Deaflympics Village in Samsun 2017.
Christof discussed about the issues of security at length with the Organising Committee General Co-ordinator Serkan Baltacı along with the Director of Transportation, Director of Sports Venues, Director of Security and Director of International Relations.
Security is very high in Samsun with a police and military joint operation inside the Deaflympics Village (which is also monitored with hundreds of CCTV cameras), all sports venues and all transport travelling to and back from each sport venues will have a high military & police presence. A fast-track Deaflympics transfer will be installed at Istanbul Ataturk Airport for all participating athletes and officials. Samsun Carsamba Airport is now closed for three months being rebuilt solely for the Deaflympics.
Christof said “The inspection visit went very well and Turkey proved themselves to be very well organised, providing a 185 pages detailed dossier for each country’s Chef de Mission. While security might be a little over the top in certain areas, it is clear they are pulling out all the stops to make everyone feel safe. I am confident that the Organising Committee are doing a magnificent job across all areas and that our athletes will get to enjoy a very special Deaflympics in Samsun come July.”