Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 11:02
The football field in Moria, a jewel for Lesvos, was restored with the financial support of the International Olympic Committee. The field was inspected by the IOC member Mario Pescante, the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Capralos, along with the Olympic medalists in sailing Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis, the Mayor of Lesvos Spyros Galinos and the Vice President of the Hellenic Sailing Federation Telis Adamopoulos. The floor is now covered with a synthetic carpet, while the old goalposts are replaced with new ones, so that refugees who are staying in the camp of Moria can practice and enjoy, whilst training and competing with the teams of the wider area.
The delegation had also visited the refugee camp of Kara Tepe, which is managed by the municipality of Lesvos. Sports equipment (t-shirts, balls, etc.) were given out to the children who are staying there. These children seemed to be particularly satisfied by the visit of the people of the sport and Olympic family. Mario Pescante who is a Permanent Observer of the IOC to the United Nations, was impressed by the refugee camp and the living conditions of the people. He played with the children and was photographed with them. Mr. Pescante and Mr. Capralos watched a sailing demonstration in the Port of Mytilene performed by young athletes of the Sailing Club of Mytilene. These young athletes had the opportunity to meet the two Olympic medalists, Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis and get photographed with them.
For the visit to the refugees in Lesvos President Capralos stated: First of all, we are very happy for the football field in Moria, which was financed by the International Olympic Committee, after a proposal of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, in response to the call of the Mayor of Lesvos Spyros Galinos for the restoration of the field. It is now a beautiful playground for the teams of neighboring villages, but also for refugees. I also saw an amazing hospitality center at Kara Tepe where refugees live with their children and I felt proud because our country, thanks to the actions of the Mayor of Lesvos, can host these people in excellent conditions. I must highlight that the refugee crisis is a huge issue that cannot be easily solved, however I believe that, like the HOC and the IOC that stand by the municipality of Lesvos for the refugees, Europe will also do its best although this is an issue mostly affecting the southern Europe”. Mario Pescante said: “The ambiance at the refugee camp is truly excellent. It is very important that people do visit this refugee camp so that they can witness the importance of helping people in need. In addition, my role as IOC Permanent Observer, is to stand by the local societies for their sacrifices during all this time. I am coming from Italy and I am well aware of the problem, as we also have Lampedusa. I must point out that Greece and Italy are all alone in this, as the rest of Europe has erected security walls and do not help as much as they should. I fully understand the feelings of the island residents and this is why we are here, to show our understanding”. Panayiotis Mantis said: "I am astounded by the efforts made by the residents and the local community for the refugees. We visited the refugee camp at Kara Tepe as well as the modern stadium in Moria and it seems that a lot of work has been done", while Pavlos Kagialis added:" I am impressed by the efforts made here for the refugees. The stadium is already in use. The efforts of the Mayor are exceptional and his efforts were completely worth it. Great things can happen when there is will and love”.