Trabzon - As the countdown of the Gymnasiade 2016 came to one day, the athletes started to arrive and settle in the city of Trabzon. The athlete village is getting more and more busy, hosting mix of nations, different cultures and various languages. No wonder - the estimated participation is 2500 athletes from 30 countries.
Pierre and Kendra will be representing France in wrestling. They arrived yesterday and so far, they enjoy the good atmosphere of Trabzon. "I hope to won a medal, but Russians will be huge rivals. Anyway, no matter what the result will be, I'm looking forward to have fun and spend a good time together with other athletes," claims 16 years old Pierre.
Kendra, 17 years old female wrestler points out the friendliness of the Turkish people. She is also aware of the same threat both of the countries, France and Turkey, have recently faced: "Despite all the attacks, we can share something special together and be in harmony with each other through sport. It shouldn't stop us from practicing it."
Pierre & Kendra from France
Isabel, a 17 years old pole vaulter from Brazil hopes that Gymnasiade will bring all the participants together and create new intercultural friendships. "I believe all of the athletes are here not only for the competition, but to meet each other and become friends." She also admits that it's not always easy to keep up with her studies. "Attending this event means missing out some stuff at school. But I try to keep things balanced between the sport and the education, I make it both my high priority."
Isabel from Brazil
Ben and Stefan, both 16, arrived just today. They will represent Great Britain in wrestling. "I expect new connections and good laughs, but I am here mainly because I love wrestling. I just love it," admits Ben. Stefan already has an experience of meeting new people through sport, as he himself made a lot of friends thanks to wrestling: "I have friends from America, Ukraine or France. Sport really brings people together."
Ben and Stefan from England
Another fresh newcomer is 17 years old swimmer from Puerto Rico called Angel, who says that Gymnasiade means so much more for her than just the competition. "First of all, I'm here to have fun. My expectations are to experience new things, new people, I'd love to meet them all."
Angel from Puerto Rico
The Gymnasiade 2016 starts tomorrow and the athletes seem to be ready for the countdown to be over. Not only to bring us the good sport performances and results, but they also seem ready to start melting the pot.
Have a look on the video of the day
Lucie Hrdlickova - ISF reporter