SAMSUN ATTRACKS THE WORLD
499 athletes (311 men and 188 women) from 68 countries will gather together during the next three days on the tatami of the ‘Yasar Dogu Sports Arena’ in Samsun, Turkey. With a seating capacity of 7,500 spectators, the venue was officially opened in 2013, when the first Turkish Grand Prix was organized in the capital city of the Samsun Province, one of the major black sea ports.
The official draw of the competition took place today at the Serra Hotel in front of a large audience of heads of delegations, who were keen to find out what would be the chances of their athletes to collect some precious points for the Olympic qualification. Exactly one week after the Tbilisi Grand Prix 2015 in Georgia, the IJF is now stopping in Turkey and is attracting the best judoka in the world for this third IJF competition of the 2015 World Judo Tour.
It is the also the third time that the city of Samsun welcomes the world judo family. During the draw, Mr. Naser Al Tamimi, IJF General Treasurer, said: "Dear judo friends, I am very honoured to welcome you here in Samsun. Thank you very much to the Turkish Judo Federation and to the IJF team for organising this event. I wish you a very good stay and good luck to all the participants."
Mr. Fatih Uysal, President of the Turkish Judo Federation declared: "On behalf of the Turkish Judo Federation, I am pleased to welcome guests, participants and spectators to this Grand Prix in Turkey. The Samsun Grand Prix 2015 will be the third major event of this season. Such a great tournament contributes to the development of judo in Turkey. Throughout the weekend, we will follow world and Olympic medallist and talented judoka, trying to get more points for their qualification to the upcoming Games in Rio 2016. I wish all the participants an interesting and fair tournament. We are happy to welcome you in Turkey."
The draw was conducted by Mr. Vladimir Barta, IJF Head Sport Director, who underlined the high level of the competition: "Every event is now important. Having almost 500 athletes from 68 countries here in Turkey is a record. I am also very pleased to see a full Turkish team, which shows how judo has become a major sport in the country. I want to congratulate Mr. Fatih Uysal and his team for their outstanding work and achievement."
Within 25 minutes, the official draw, led by Mr. Daniel Lascau, IJF Sport Director, was delivered to the delegations. After the draw Mr. Barta, Mr. Uysal, together with Mr. Güven Ozyurt, Youth and Sport Manager of the city of Samsun and Mr. Mehmet Yilmaz, General Coordinator of the organizing committee participated in the official press conference. Mr. Ozyurt said: "Thank you very much to the IJF for guiding the Turkish Judo Federation to organize such a beautiful competition and to give to the city of Samsun the possibility to host the event. Samsun is a city dedicated to the promotion of sports. Thanks to the Governor of the Samsun Province and the Mayor of the city, we have been organising major sporting events, which attract a lot of attention. I particularly want to thank the media and especially our national television TRT, which is covering the event. For the public in Samsun, this is also very important. The Grand Prix is a good promotion for our city and judo definitely shows the example to other sports."
Mr. Fatih Uysal added: "I want to thank Mr. Marius Vizer and his professional team, who are so much supportive of all our efforts to deliver the best event possible. Thank you also to the Minister of Youth and Sport. Without their long-time support, we wouldn’t be able to achieve our goals. For more than three weeks, a lot of public relations were conducted throughout the city. Judo was and is at the centre of all attention and is present in all corners of the city as well as at the national level. The Grand Prix is one of the biggest competitions in the world."