Olympiacos organized an excellent conference on “Sports for All” (Saturday, 2 March) under the auspices of the European Commission, Doctors in the World, Unesco in the Southeast Attica, the Institution “M. Kokkori”, C.J.T. Sport Management Company and Xinis Educational Group. This workshop took place in the framework of the European Erasmus+ projects ‘’Sports For Different Heroes’’ and ‘’My Olympic Experience’’, which aim at promoting sport for all, especially for disabled people. The event was aimed at those who express the need for timely and reliable promotion of the importance, benefits and prospects of sport in the life of vulnerable social groups such as people with disabilities and the elderly ones, in order to show its crucial role in the socialization of these social groups and the increase of their physical activity.
Regarding the conference, the Olympiacos General Secretary, Mrs. Christina Tsiligkiri stated: “We are organizing the conference on “Sports For All’’ today. I will make a short introduction as lots of important speakers are here and the conference will be held until noon and both journalists and the audience have already come. The conference focuses on the Sports for All because we just want to approach sport aspects that are different from those are known in society. These aspects are related to social groups and especially, people with disabilities. We will speak about these people not about their special abilities but regarding the real problems they have trying to open the eyes and the minds of those who are present today and those that will receive the message that these people have disabilities. We will investigate how the sport can help these people and honour people who have been able to make these special needs special skills.
It is our great pleasure to be given the opportunity through the Erasmus project and through Olympiacos which has been active in social projects in the European Commission for the last four years, to embrace these particular social groups. Today we will also talk about another very important issue, which will be one of the proposals we will submit to the European Commission in the next month. This issue is related to how sport can help elderly and retired people not only to exercise but also to integrate into the community. The socialization of both disabled and elderly people is not just about playing sports within a club but also about being more active and socializing. An important issue is also the integration of people with mental disabilities. People with mental disabilities have a peculiarity in comparison with other people with disabilities as they cannot communicate. They can’t express their needs in order to be able to categorize and conclude what these special needs are. Taking into account that the facilities and the way that our society approaches people with disabilities aren’t at a satisfactory level, we are trying to investigate today what these special groups of people are. We are talking about individuals who have particular problems such as communication which makes their social integration a difficult issue’’.
The Conference included speeches of people with experience in sports, the treatment of people with special needs and vulnerable social groups, the organization of sport activities for these people and the conduction of relevant scientific research. The Olympiacos General Secretary, Mrs. Christina Tsiligkiri mentioned the importance of promoting sport in every social group and particularly in people with special needs such as mental retardation and autism as well as in elderly ones. The Hask Mladost International Coordinator, Mr. Bojan Mijatovic, presented some innovative ideas on the social integration of people with disabilities through sport. Thereafter, the UNESCO President of South Attica, Mrs. Anastasia Kokoletsiou spoke about the Organization’s support to the initiatives concerning people with disabilities. The President of the Commission and Head of Sports of the Unesco in South Attica, the Sport Director of the Xinis Educational Group and General Secretary of the Olympiacos Veterans Association, Mr. Antonis Glykas, referred to the importance of undertaking such initiatives by the largest multisport club at European level. The President of Xinis Educational Group Mr. Sophocles Xinis presented the Group’s work on the implementation of social and sport actions for all. The General Secretary of Levski Sport For All and the EMCA President, Mrs. Vanina Milanova underpinned the social actions of the Bulgarian club for vulnerable social groups and people with special needs. An interesting approach related to the athletes with dyslexia was also done by the President of the Hellenic College of Ophthalmology and Professor of Ophthalmology at Weill Cornell, Mr. Ioannis Aslanidis. Mrs. Fotini Melou, Technical Adviser to the General Secretariat for Health, mentioned the benefits of Gymnastics for All, while the Clinical Psychologist, Mrs. Anthi Papaioannou stated about the effect of sport on the psychology of the disabled people. Then, the employee of the “M. Kokkoris ” Institution, presented their work on the care of mentally handicapped people, while the coach of the sport club ‘’Sailability Hellas’’, Mr. Iakovos Kikianis, mentioned the development of sailing sports for people with disabilities. The second part of the Workshop began with the speech of the President of OPAN, Mrs. Stavroula Antonakou who referred to the work of the Municipality of Piraeus and the need for more similar initiatives with those of Olympiacos. The member of the ‘’Doctors in the World’’ Board, Mrs. Maria Kalagia has made a psychological approach to sport for people with special skills. The event was followed by a speech on the Olympic values and the importance of promoting sport for all by the President of the International Olympic Academy, Mr. Isidoros Kouvelos. The Associate Professor of the University of Peloponnese, Mrs. Giota Antonopoulou, made a special mention to the importance of sport for people with disabilities, while the Ph.D. Candidate, Mr. Konstantinos Koronios, noted the role of sport in the socialization of the elderly. The talks ended with the speech of the special physical educator, Mrs. Assimina Tallanti on the prospects for the development of sports events in the elderly.
All speakers highlighted the need for more initiatives to promote sport for all, making special mention and giving congratulations to Olympiacos for both its social and sports activities at the Erasmus + programme and for the organization of this conference.
Apart from the part of the lectures, Olympiacos honored the Paralympian athlete of the Paralympic sport boccia and candidate for the ‘’2018 Best Male Athlete with a Disability’’ award, Mr. Grigoris Polychronidis, the athletes of the “Sailability Hellas”, the President of the International Olympic Academy, Mr. Isidoros Kouvelos and the President of the OPAN-Municipal Councilor of Piraeus, Olympic and World Champion at the Women’s Water Polo, Mrs. Stavroula Antonakou for their valuable and perennial contribution to sports.
In addition, the event was honored with the presence of the former Minister and M.P., Mrs. Sofia Voultepsi, the parliamentary candidate, Mrs. Rena Vassilaki, the Deputy Mayor and the Mayor Candidate in Palaio Faliro, Mrs. Vicky Andrikopoulou, the President of the OPAN / Municipal Councilor Piraeus and Regional Councilor Candidate, Mrs. Stavroula Antonakou, as well as the captain of Olympiacos women’s water polo department and Municipal Councilor candidate, Mrs. Filio Manolioudaki.