The organization with the highest number of participants in Turkish sports history and Deaflympics history, 23rd Summer Deaflympics officially started with the magnificent opening ceremony in Yeni Samsun 19 Mayıs Stadium. Ertuğrul Bursa who saw 11 Deaflympics on site, lit the fire of the Games.

The 23rd Summer Deaflympics, which brought together 97 different countries from six continents, 3 thousand 148 athletes, and over 5,000 participants, began with an opening ceremony that was amusing worthy of its size.

In the opening ceremony held at the Yeni 19 Mayıs Stadium, the athletes, coaches, and delegates of all countries greeted all Samsun, Turkey and the world in the parade.

After the parade, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, with the messages they sent, wish success to all athletes who will compete in the 23rd Summer Deaflympics.

Samsun Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Yusuf Ziya Yılmaz reminded that Samsun now carries the Olympic torch in addition to the torch of liberation said that they will host their guests perfectly during Deaflympics. Yılmaz also added that Deaflympics 2017 is a great opportunity to send messages of peace throughout the world through sports.

Governor of Samsun, Osman Kaymak who expressed that they have experienced one of the most important days of Turkey and Samsun's history said: "We are going to show that we can host the Summer Olympic Games perfectly by organizing the Deaflympics in the best way. Our wish is to host Summer Olympic Games eventually."

The IOC DelegateSam Ramsamy gave a speech on behalf of The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach. Bach, in the speech text, said that ICSD gives all its support to spread sports all over the world and is an important member of the Olympic family.

ICSD President Mr. Valery Rukhledev, who took the stage afterwards, emphasized that Deaflympics, held for the first time in 1924, is the second oldest international competition in history. He reiterated that they saw Turkey as a very powerful country in the preparation process to the Games and that Turkey should be an example to the world.

Youth and Sports Minister Mr. Akif Çağatay Kılıç greeted all guests and stated: "23rd Summer Deaflympics will be a very exciting experience for beautiful Samsun, my hometown". He underlined that they prepared 42 venues quickly and gave 5 thousand people as varied as shopkeepers and airline cabin attendants sign language education. Minister Çağatay Kılıç stated that Samsun Deaflympics 2017 is the best answer given to international blackmail campaigns against Turkey, demonstrating that Turkey is a tranquil and safe country.

After the protocol speeches, the ICSD anthem was played and the ICSD flag was hoisted up a flagpole, where it will fly until the closing ceremony on the 30rd of July.

ERTUĞRUL BURSA LIT THE OLYMPIC FLAME

Turkish national wrestler İsmail Otamış, who earned Turkey its first medal in Deaflympics history, brought the Samsun Deaflympics 2017 torch to the stadium. Kemal Baloğlu and Selahattin Bozdağ, football players that were a part of the Deaflympics 1997 team that became the champions, took turns carrying the torch. The torch finally passed on to Ertuğrul Bursa, who participated in 8 summer and 3 winter Deaflympics for a total of 11 Games.

Bursa had started his Deaflympics career by getting called up to Gündüz Tekin Onay's 1969 football team. After retiring from football, he continued to participate in Deaflympics as a technical delegate. He finally had the honor of topping his career by lighting the Olympic flame.

Afterwards, İsmail Otamış's son and basketball national Ömer Otamış entered the stage for the Olympic oath.

The ceremony ended with a cultural programme exhibited by different dancing groups and a concert from Turkish singer Murat Boz.

CROWDS GO EUPHORIC AS TURKISH ATHLETES MARCH ON
 
The 294 athletes and the delegation representing Turkey was received enthuasiastically by the crowds, who filled the Yeni 19 Mayıs Stadium to the brim. As national wrestler İlhan Çıtan, who has set his eyes on his 5th consecutive gold medal in Samsun, carried the Turkish flag, the crowd built up a great atmosphere by waving their mobile phones as lights and cheering the athletes on with both sign language and chanting. Turkish athletes responded by signing "We Love You" to the audience.
 
BONDS OF FRIENDSHIP IN THE PARADE
 
Bonds of friendship left their print on observers during the parade. Many countries, including Germany and Brazil, walked while waving the Turkish flag alongside their national flags. The Chinese athletes carried a "Hello Turkey" banner in addition to Turkish and Chinese flags. Turkish spectators received flags from many countries' athletes including Greece and Poland and responded with messages of friendship.
 
FLAGS OF THE WORLD TOGETHER IN THE TRIBUNES
 
The tribunes, just like the field itself, was covered in the colors of world flags. Although Turkish were in the majority, 97 countries from 6 continents contributed to a beautiful array of colors.

THEY CARRIED THEIR FLAGS ALL ALONE

The flags of the Philippines, Malta, Greek Administration of Southern Cyprus, Yemen and Guatemala, which participated in Deaflympics 2017 with one athlete only, were carried by their sole participants Dominique Camus Nuevo, George Vella, Andreas Constantinou, Mohammed Abdullah Alkhawlani and Sergio Pablo Aragon respectively.The athletes who made statements at the official parade said that they were aware of their responsibility to be the sole representative of their country.

GREAT FUN WITH MASCOT ÇAKIR

Çakır, who can communicate with sign language, is the first speaking mascot of the world with this ability and became the center of the spotlight at the opening ceremony, as always. Çakır who faced the love of the tribunes as soon as he comes was invited to all the tribunes one by one. Children again showed great interest in Mascot Çakır.

1,500 VOLUNTEERS IN THE STADIUM

A total of 1,500 volunteers including 250 deaf people working in Deaflympics Samsun 2017 were on Yeni 19 Mayıs Stadium for the opening ceremony. While 400 volunteers were on the field, 1100 volunteers followed the ceremony at the tribunes.

SECURITY MEASURES AT HIGHEST LEVEL

A total of 5,300 security personnel, 3,300 of which are stationed in games, were on duty in order to avoid security problems during Deaflympics. In the opening ceremony, besides the members of the security officers who were in Samsun, a large number of security officers came from the nearby cities were on duty.

TRANSPORTATION WAS FREE OF CHARGE

People of Samsun reached the opening ceremony by using light rail system which starts from the Ondokuz Mayıs University Campus to Tekkeköy free of charge. At the same time, free bus services were organized from different districts of Samsun to the stadium.

 

Turkish Airlines is the official airline of "23rd Summer Deaflympics Samsun 2017" and special discounts are offered on certain booking classes. In order to proceed with the online booking tool for Turkish Conventions please visit the Turkish Conventions website https://www4.thy.com/TKC/app/main?language=en and use the event code “154TKM17” under delegate section.