Turkey emerges as popular nation in hosting major events
Turkey hosted major international sports events this year and this can't go unnoticed. Istanbul was host to the European Indoor Athletics Championships (March 9-11) and the nation won its first ever medals in this competition. Kenyan-born Turk İlham Tanui Ozbilen clinched the silver in the men's 1,500 meters and Olympic women's gold medalist Asli Cakır Alptekin took the bronze in the same event. Antalya hosted the World Weightlifting Championship in April, with Turkey winning six gold, seven silver and seven bronze medals. Sibel Simsek won three golds, Bunyamin Sezer won two golds and Fatih Baydar one gold. That these world-class lifters froze on the big occasion at the London Olympics defies belief. Istanbul also hosted the TEB-BNP Paribas WTA Championships in October that was won by Serena Williams, who defeated Maria Sharapova in the final. And Istanbul was also the host to the 2012 FINA Short Course Swimming World Championships on Dec.12-16 at the Sinan Erdem Dome, where Turkey finished medal-less.