Monday, May 9, 2022 - 16:05
After two years of absence due to the pandemic, the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) held the Annual Honorary Awards in a ceremony full of splendor and emotion which reminded everyone that, in difficult times, Sports unites and triumphs.
The ceremony took place at the HOC Amphitheater, in the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Minister of Sports Lefteris Avgenakis, the Governor of Attica George Patoulis, the Ambassador of Japan to Greece Yasunori Nakayama, the Ambassador of People’s Republic of China to Greece Xiao Junzheng, the General Secretary of Sports George Mavrotas, the President of the Greek Olympians Voula Kozompoli and many personalities from sports, politics and arts.
At the event, which was broadcast live on television, the athletes and their coaches were awarded for the medals they won at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, such as Miltos Tentoglou, Stefanos Douskos, National Men water polo team, Lefteris Petrounias, as well as all the athletes who won medals at World and European Championships in 2021.
HOC President Spyros Capralos also awarded the Ambassador of Japan to Greece, Yasunori Nakayama, for the successful organization of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
In addition to the athletes and their coaches, Alexis Kostalas was also awarded with the HOC "Dimitris Vikelas" prize, for his long-term contribution to the Olympic Movement and his continuous voluntary participation in the events organized by the Hellenic Olympic Committee. Harris David was also awarded with the "Dimitris Vikelas" prize, for his initiative concerning the Leventis Foundation Olympic Preparation Scholarships, addressed to athletes from Greece and Cyprus.
Dimitris Diathesopoulos, Giorgos Vasilakopoulos and Giannis Sgouros were awarded for their long-term commitment to Greek Sports, and for their contribution to the HOC and especially for their work in the Hellenic Swimming, Basketball and Weightlifting Federations, respectively. The Hellenic Olympic Committee also honored personalities from the Press and Communications who contribute to the promotion of sports and Olympism through their work and actions, as well as the persevering Marathon runner, Stelios Prassas, who is currently the oldest runner to finish the Authentic Athens Marathon. Finally, the members of the Olympic Flame Ceremonies, Choreographer Artemis Ignatiou, High Priestess Xanthi Georgiou, music composer Giannis Psimadas and the entire team of priestesses and kouroi were awarded for their participation and outstanding contribution in the Lighting and Handover Olympic Flame Ceremonies.
Spyros Capralos, President of HOC and IOC member, among others, pointed out the problems that exist in Greek sports, especially the lack of sports facilities. Mr. Capralos said: "I would like to focus on the biggest problem that Greek sport currently faces, and this is none other than the lack of facilities and their maintenance. Many facilities, especially swimming pools, are closed or in poor condition. We hope that they will be quickly renovated and put back into service to accommodate young children and amateur sports. On the other hand, we feel the pressure from professional sports companies that claim the use of the few facilities that have been built for the purpose of sports with the taxes paid by the Greek citizens. As we have already stated, the Hellenic Olympic Committee agrees that sports facilities, such as the Olympic Stadium of Athens (OAKA) and the Peace and Friendship Stadium (SEF), should be used and exploited by teams or individuals so that they are better maintained, remain functional and do not burden the state financially. Therefore, we agree that the basketball teams of Panathinaikos and Olympiakos should use the halls of OAKA and SEF for their games. However, the training centers for the sports which are currently housed in these venues should not be eliminated. As well as the parking areas that allow the proper operation and performance of many sports within the complex of OAKA”.