16-05-2010: "Sport for Athens youngsters"

Some 5,000 children today conveyed a message of optimism for the future of Greek society through their participation in street events organised by the City of Athens and the Municipality's Youth and Sport Organisation (ONA) and held on central Panepistimiou Street.

The youngsters flocked to the specially-modified tennis, football, basketball and hockey fields, fully enjoying every minute of the fun and recreation generously offered by the organizers.

Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis and ONA chairman Vassilis Kikilias, along with prominent football, basketball and tennis players including Antonis Antoniadis and Fragiskos Alvertis, joined the children.

After commending Municipal workers and ONA chairman Vassilis Kikilias on the successful organisation of the event, Mayor Kaklamanis said:

"The city's public spaces are usually occupied for less pleasant reasons. For the past three years we have ‘occupied' them so that children can play. We started out on a trial basis and it has now become an institution, which we intend to extend to Athens neighbourhoods, that demonstrates the need for there to be more open spaces for our children.

I am pleased with the fact that, in the past three years, 13,2 hectares of land has been expropriated, more than double the amount expropriated over the previous 25 years, and converted into green spaces, open spaces and recreational areas for the children of our city.

The City of Athens is attending to the needs of these children as it does for the considerably older ones, senior citizens that is.

I would like to extend a slight apology to drivers for the troubles they had today but I believe the city's children are worth it".

Mayor Kaklamanis replied to journalists' questions:

Journalist: What is the message you are conveying through today's event?

Nikitas Kaklamanis: As it coincides with a difficult period for Greece, I believe the message is that, through the smiles and hope of children, Greece will overcome the crisis and see better days again.

Journalist: What are your thoughts on Turkish PM Erdogan's visit?

Nikitas Kaklamanis: I would like to believe that it proved useful. I believe that the emphasis placed on it was much greater than the actual outcome, however Turkey is a country we are destined to live with, in peace and in partnership. Therefore, these visits are not bad, they are good, as long as words translate into action.

For his part, chairman Kikilias said: "While certain individuals, through their behaviour and actions, arm children with rocks and Molotov cocktails, we arm them with joy, fun and sport. These children need opportunities, hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow and, through the work carried out by ONA all these years, we are serving this purpose".

The event was organized under the auspices of the Education, Life-long Learning and Religion Ministry.


Sun, 16/05/2010 - 03:00


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