By Duncan Mackay

Turkey volleyball youth teamNovember 28 - Hosting the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Istanbul would help transform the futures of millions of young people in Turkey, it has been claimed.

The pledge was made as the eighth International Olympic Committee (IOC) World Conference on Sport, Education and Culture drew to a close in Amsterdam, where Istanbul 2020 delegates claim to have departed with fresh ideas on how to create a lasting legacy from the Games for Turkey's 20 million under-20-year-olds.

"Turkey has the youngest and fastest growing population in Europe, producing 700,000 university graduates a year," said Nese Gundogan, secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey (NOCT).

More than 500 delegates from 110 countries gathered in Amsterdam's NH Hotel Krasnapolsky to discuss the educational and cultural power of sport and Gundogan believes that few countries offer the potential that Turkey does, giving them a significant edge over Madrid and Tokyo, their rivals for 2020. 

"Forty three per cent of the country's population is under 25," she said. 

"Istanbul would be an incredible stage to host the Olympic Games, leaving a lasting legacy of innovation and education programmes that will create a new generation of athletes, entrepreneurs and leaders in sport, from Turkey and around the world."

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