Navarino Challenge 2019 Thrills and Educates

Open water swimming by Vikos at Navarino Bay. Photo by Elias Lefas

ATHENS – The award-winning Navarino Challenge lived up to its theme “Sports Unite People” as 2,700 people of all ages participated in the activities for a 7th consecutive year, October 11-13 in Messinia and Costa Navarino.

With ideal weather conditions and a rich program of more than 30 activities, the event, hosted by The Westin Resort Costa Navarino supports the ideals of the Olympic Movement, contributing towards the development of a peaceful and better world without discrimination, through sports.

The wellness event promoted the benefits of exercise and raised awareness of the Mediterranean diet in the effort to fight childhood obesity and the event exhorted young people to get involved in games and sports, through the Active Kids program, by adding even more kids’ activities this year.

Navarino Challenge brought together athletes, families and children from 40 countries including the United States.

Tip off by Hall of Fame basketball legend Nick Galis at the 4on4 basketball tournament by Nutramins. Photo by Mike Tsolis

The full schedule of the event included activities for the whole family. On October 11, Greek Hall of Fame basketball icon Nick Galis, this year’s guest of honor, tipped off the 4on4 basketball tournament by Nutramins that was held with the participation of the basketball legend Joe Arlaouckas and two-time Olympic silver medalist Alexandros Nikolaidis. The day continued with many sports activities and ended with the screening of Barney Spender and Roddy Gibson’s award-winning documentary The Road to Sparta at the Agora, Costa Navarino.

On October 12 sport action was held in the Municipality of Pylos-Nestor that supported the event for another year and helped in the smooth implementation of the activities at Navarino Bay with the assistance of local companies. For the first time in the event, participants had the opportunity to try sea kayaking and headed to the island of Sphacteria with the support of Explore Messinia.

Open water swimming enthusiasts had the chance to compete in a chip-timed event at the beautiful Navarino bay from the scenic Pylos harbor, covering the unique 1 mile (1.6 km) route of the open water swimming race by Vikos.

The Challenge The Wind interclub sailing race of triangle course with OPTIMIST and LASER 4.7 boats was co-organized with the Maritime Athletic Pylos Association “Nestor”.

Second from left: Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports Lefteris Avgenakis, Costantza Sbokou-Constantakopoulou on behalf of TEMES, Nick Galis, Minister of Tourism Harry Theocharis, and Theresa Cissell, Qatar Airways Country Manager for Greece and Cyprus. Photo by Elias Lefas

The sea activities also marked the beginning of the Navarinia event for the 192nd anniversary of the Battle of Navarino, which will culminate this week.

In addition, Pylos came alive with local flavors and scents. A station with traditional lalagia, loukoumia, pasteli created by Poseidonia and Pylos Poems welcomed visitors.

A visit to the refurbished family home of the Olympic champion Kostis Tsiklitiras was held with the presence of Olympic medalist Spyros Gianniotis.

GREEK SPORTS GREATS HONORED

Hall of Fame basketball legend Nick Galis was honored for his contribution to sports by Costantza Sbokou-Constantakopoulou on behalf of TEMES, along with the Minister of Tourism, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports, and Theresa Cissell, Qatar Airways Country Manager for Greece and Cyprus. The Greek-American ultramarathon runner and the event’s ambassador Dean Karnazes was awarded by the Minister of Tourism. Greek gold Paralympic medalist and world champion in boccia Grigoris Polychronidis was awarded by Byung Moo (Theofilos) Shin, President & Chief Executive Officer of Samsung Electronics Hellas. Silver Olympic medalist Spyros Gianniotis was awarded by the Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports. Two-time Olympic medalist in rowing Vassilis Polymeros was awarded by Petri Logara, Operations Manager of Ford Motor Hellas. World karate champion Eleni Chatziliadou was awarded by Cissell, while bronze medalist in sailing world championship Maria Tsamopoulou was awarded by Stefanos Theodorides, Managing Director of TEMES. The event was presented by Joe Arlauckas with music by the Pylos Conservatory duo.

The Half-Marathon route is described by runners as one of the most beautiful around the world, and the 5km route also impressed participants. Navarino Challenge was included in World’s Marathons world community with runners from the Sport Club with people with special needs from Kalamata, Diaforozo, celebrating their participation at the event one day before the International White Cane Day (October 15).

The eco-friendly event included strictly smoke-free areas for the start and end points of the Navarino Dunes runways and declared the beautiful Voidokilia beach strictly plastic-free.

Kick boxing champion Alexandros Nikolaidis at the Ford Go Further half-marathon in Voidokilia. Photo by Elias Lefas

Navarino Challenge supports: the Institute of Preventive Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health, Prolepsis with a program on Food Aid and Promotion of Healthy Nutrition, DIATROFI, and through the Captain Vasilis and Carmen Konstantakopoulos Foundation, WWF Greece and Karkinaki, through the GivenGain online platform: https://bit.ly/33KTNhD.

Navarino Challenge is part of the #BeactiveHellas 2019 program of the European Commission and was held under the auspices of the General Secretariat of Sports.

The event was held under the auspices of the Greek National Tourism Organization with the approval of the Hellenic Swimming Federation.

Navarino Challenge was co-organized by Costa Navarino, The Westin Resort Costa Navarino and Active Media Group with the support of the Municipalities of Pylos-Nestor and Trifilia.

Sea kayaking to the island of Sphacteria with the support of Explore Messinia. Photo by Elias Lefas

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