One of the major events of the expanding Balkan Athletics Association calendar is the Balkan Indoor Athletics Championships which was held once again at the Atakoy Arena in Istanbul, Turkey on Saturday (16).
The championships was attended by 253 athletes representing 20 nations - including new members San Marino and Azerbaijan - with Ukraine and Turkey topping the medal table with four gold medals each. Another eleven nations also came away with a gold medal with another five nations taking either a silver or bronze.
European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen was invited by Turkish Athletics Federation President Fatih Çintimar to enjoy the action in Istanbul. Hansen made a speech at the Opening Ceremony alongside ABAF President Dobromir Karamarinov and Çintimar at the Ataköy Arena which was built for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in 2012.
“This is a fantastic event for athletics,” said Hansen. “All the Balkan countries are gathered here and they will compete for a regional title just before our big assembly: the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow. We wish good luck to all athletes here.”
Hansen also attended the Turkish Referee Gala at the Istanbul Olympic House on the night of Balkan Indoor Championships. The Gala was organised by the Turkish Athletic Federation and honoured some of the best and most dedicated officials in Turkish athletics.
President Hansen presented a special award to Can Korkmazoğlu who was recently appointed as one of the International Technical Officials for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Hansen said on the stage: “I don’t need a microphone for the pronunciation because I know this man, the great man; the winner is ‘Kan’!”
Selahattin Yildiz, 90, was also honoured at the Gala. Yildiz has served in every department of athletics in his 75 years in the sport including as an athlete, club official, federation board member, chief referee and journalist.
Happy to say a big thank you at a welcome reception for volunteers at the Balkan Indoor Championships in Istanbul . We are so dependent & grateful on the dedication and work of all our volunteers pic.twitter.com/HConnyarp1
— Svein Arne Hansen (@SvenPres) February 16, 2019