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Αγώνες Special Olympics στην Πολωνία (18-24/9/2010)-Ελληνική συμμετοχή

Από τις 18 ως τις 24 Σεπτεμβρίου πραγματοποιήθηκαν στη Βαρσοβία οι Ευρωπαϊκοί Αγώνες Special Olympics, με την συμμετοχή 1.600 αθλητών από 57 χώρες της Ευρώπης και της Ευρασίας.
Στους αγώνες συμμετείχε και ελληνική αποστολή 86 αθλητών, δηλώνοντας με την παρουσία της – πέρα από το μήνυμα της αποδοχής της διαφορετικότητας και της ενθάρρυνσης της συμμετοχής ατόμων με διανοητική αναπηρία σε κοινωνικές και αθλητικές δραστηριότητες – την ενεργό προετοιμασία της Ελλάδας για τους επόμενους Παγκόσμιους Αγώνες Special Olympics (XIII Special Olympics World Summer Games) που θα πραγματοποιηθούν στην Αθήνα το καλοκαίρι του 2011.
Στην τελετή έναρξης των Αγώνων Special Olympics στις 18 Σεπτεμβρίου, παρευρέθηκε και ο έλληνας ευρωβουλευτής Γιώργος Σταυρακάκης, ο οποίος σημείωσε ότι η «Φλόγα της Ελπίδας» μετά την αφή της στην Αλεξανδρούπολη στις 5 Σεπτεμβρίου ταξίδεψε  σε οκτώ ευρωπαϊκές πόλεις για να φθάσει τελικά στη Βαρσοβία για την τελετή έναρξης των Αγώνων.
Ο κ. Σταυρακάκης υπογράμμισε την σημασία των Αγώνων Special Olympics ως το μεγαλύτερο αθλητικό γεγονός για άτομα με διανοητικές δυσκολίες, τονίζοντας την αναγκαιότητα στήριξης –και μέσω του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου- των προσεχών Παγκόσμιων Αγώνων Special Olympics στην Αθήνα, που στόχο έχουν όχι μόνο να ενισχύσουν περαιτέρω τα ολυμπιακά ιδεώδη της άμιλλας και του εθελοντισμού, αλλά και να βοηθήσουν στην ένταξη στο κοινωνικό σύνολο περιθωριοποιημένων ανθρώπων, καθώς και στην κοινωνική συνοχή.

Lighting the way to 2010 Youth Olympic Games

The official ceremony for the Lighting of the Olympic flame that will burn at the inaugural Youth Olympics Games in Singapore will take place today (July 23) at Ancient Olympia.
In the presence of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge and Minister of Culture Pavlos Yeroulanos, the priestess will stand in front of the 2,600 year-old Temple of Hera and by using a concave mirror will light a silver torch with the sun’s rays.
As soon as the flame is lit, the Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame will begin travelling in five cities across the globe: Berlin, Dakar, Mexico City, Auckland and Seoul.
Yesterday, a successful rehearsal was conducted and hundreds of tourists, visiting the site where the Ancient Olympics were held from 776 BC to 393 AD, witnessed the event. The first ever Youth Olympic Games will be held from August 14 to 26 in Singapore.
Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism: The Archaeological site of Olympia
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

New era in Greek-Turkish relations

» High Level Cooperation

Premier George Papandreou and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan expressed their will to take important steps towards the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, as the Turkish leader wrapped up an official visit to Athens on Saturday.
This was sealed with the opening session of the Greece-Turkey High Level Cooperation Council and the signing of 21 agreements.
George Papandreou met with the chiefs of Turkish media, while Erdogan with the chiefs of the Greek newspapers.
The Greek premier told Turkish journalists that Erdogan’s visit heralds a new era in Greek-Turkish relations, further adding that the two sides had better overcome their differences. He also touched on economic cooperation between Athens and Ankara.

» “We have an agreement”

Twenty-one cooperation agreements in fields as diverse as technology and tourism were signed during the Turkey-Greece High Level Cooperation Council.
Ministers signed agreements boosting trade, investments and shipping and the two countries will hereby extend their cooperation in projects concerning infrastructure works and transnational transport networks.
Relations between the two countries in the field of immigration will be governed by a bilateral agreement which provides for readmission of illegal immigrant flows to Turkey and cooperation in the fight against organized crime, trafficking and civil protection.
Both sides agreed to improve tourism cooperation, aiming at increasing their market share in countries with economic potential such as China, as well as raising global awareness on matters of cultural heritage protection.

Special attention was given to education and synergies concerning research. Environment protection and joint ventures in energy projects including renewable energy sources and the existing Turkey- Greece-Italy gas pipeline were also sealed with respective deals.
In terms of strengthening bilateral ties,  a Joint Political Declaration on the establishment of the High Level Cooperation Council as well as a Protocol on regular political consultations between the two countries’ foreign ministries were signed.

» Signing the Olympic Truce

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded on Saturday his landmark visit to Athens by signing the Olympic Truce initiative.

At a brief ceremony in front of the imposing Panathenaic Stadium, Erdogan referred to the “great honour in signing my name in this book; to put my signature for a world of peace.”
Papandreou said that Turkey’s support for the idea sends out a clear message “by Turkey and Greece to the world,” adding that Greece will actively support Istanbul’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

“Apollon”: Athens 2011 Special Olympics Mascot

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Athens will host the Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2011. During a press conference held yesterday (December 8), at Zappeion Hall, the Athens 2011 Organising Committee launched “Apollon,” the Games’ mascot, a radiant sun named after the God of Sun in Greek mythology.
The sun was chosen as “a source of life that underlines the excellence and power of the athletes participating in the Games,” said Ioanna Despotopoulou, President of the 2011 Athens Special Olympics Organising Committee.
With the slogan “I AM IN,” “Apollon” invites all people to join the “Wonderful Winning World” of the Games.
The launch of the Games’ mascot marks the countdown to the Athens 2011 Special Olympics, a leading sports event to be held from June 25 to July 4, gathering 7,500 athletes from 185 countries. 
You Tube: Athens 2011 Masco
“Apollon”
  & Promo Video

Olympic Flame: Goodbye Greece, Hello Vancouver

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean’s official visit to Athens has coincided with the lighting of the Olympic Flame, that was passed on yesterday to the organizers of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, in Vancouver.

The Canadian city is becoming the flame’s keeper, after the final run on Greek soil by Greek-Canadian figure skater Niki GeorgiadouPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias received the Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean at the Presidential Mansion in Athens, on October 29.  In his welcoming speech, President Papoulias pointed out that Haiti, the country of origin of the Governor General of Canada, supported the Greek War of Independence against the Ottomans in 1821.  He also underlined that “Canada embraced Greek immigrants,” and referred to the humanitarian aid Greece received from Canada, during WWII.  Olympic Movement: The lighting ceremony in Olympia & Greek News Agenda: Ancient Olympia in the Spotlight

64 Greek Medals at Mediterranean Games

rowinggreekmedal1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Greece collected a total of 64 medals in the Mediterranean Games, achieving incredible success. The Greek representation, which included many young athletes, returned (July 6) home having won 19 gold medals, 14 silver and 31 bronze medals during the ten days of the Games.  After an impressive 5 gold medals in rowing, 4 golds in track and field and 2 in karate and gymnastics, Greece celebrated yesterday (July 5) its second gold medal in judo with Ilias Iliadis’s triumph. In team sports, the men’s basketball team came 2nd, the volleyball team 6th, and the water polo team 7th. Greece will host the XVII Mediterranean Games of 2013 in the cities of Volos and Larissa. The Mediterranean Games is an event held every four years and always takes place in the year following the Olympic Games.  Kathimerini daily: Great Tally in Percara

Reviving Athens 2004 Olympic Games Ceremonies

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Culture Minister Antonis Samaras will inaugurate tomorrow (July 8) an exhibition, titled “A Greek Festival-Athens 2004,” featuring the costumes and sets used in the opening and closing ceremony of the Athens Olympic Games at the National Gallery in Goudi. The exhibition, which first appeared in Beijing as part of the Cultural Olympiad, include the painted papier-mâché costumes, the signature paper boat, the rotating cube and some 47 traditional costumes from all areas of Greece.A special honorary celebration has been scheduled for the 8,000 volunteers who took part in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games. The exhibition is organised by the General Secretariat for the Olympic Utilization and it will last until December 20, 2009. You Tube: Best of Athens 2004 Opening Ceremony & Olympic Closing Ceremony Athens 2004; Volunteers’ Website: www.volathens2004.gr (in Greek)