Sea kayaking to Sphacteria Island at the Navarino Challenge. (Photo by Elias Lefas / Navarino Challenge)
ATHENS – Europe’s top sports tourism and wellness event, Navarino Challenge, celebrated its 10th anniversary on October 21-23, presenting a schedule of more than 40 activities, 16 Olympic sports and 15 Olympians at Costa Navarino and Pylos.
With the central message, “Sports Unites People” and embracing the purpose of the Olympic Movement, this year’s Navarino Challenge had more than 3,000 participations, with people of all ages, from 1 month to 90 years old as well as people of all abilities, with more than 20 athletes with disabilities, who participated in the activities, in a full schedule that hosted the participants at The Westin Resort Costa Navarino, The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, and W Costa Navarino.
Navarino Challenge became a part of the amateur and professional athletes who participated, as they all shared the same values, in the presence of Olympians, having the magnificent Messinian landscape and the Navarino bay as their background scenery. The unique sports tourism celebration gathered athletes, families and children from 23 countries including the U.S., Argentina, South Korea, Russia, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Finland, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Austria, and Turkey, with sports as their common denominator.
Meeting with Top Ambassadors & Instructors
Navarino Challenge is probably the only event apart from the Olympic Games in which important sports personalities and Olympians such as the athletes of the event’s Grand Sponsor, Stoiximan, Lefteris Petrounias, Miltos Tentoglou, Stefanos Ntouskos, Vasiliki Millousi, Thodoris Vlachos, Dimitris Diamantidis, Georgios Printezis, Christos Volikakis, Maria Prevolaraki, Kristian Gkolomeev, can meet and play sports together, while giving the participants the opportunity to meet Nasos Ghavelas, Grigoris Polychronidis, Makis Kalaras, Periklis Iakovakis, Panagiotis Giannakis, Evina Maltsi, Joe Arlauckas, Dean Karnazes, Michalis Triantafyllidis, Georgia Kaltsi, George Lazaridis, and Grigoris Souvatzoglou, and to train with Nikos Gemelos, Christos Gatsis, Dimitris Moros, Alexandros Nikolaidis, Christina Flampouri, and Mandy Persaki.
A night dedicated to the 10 years of Navarino Challenge
On Saturday night the awards ceremony for the event’s 10th anniversary took place, filled with memories, emotions and sports stars. The ceremony was presented by the actress and TV presenter Nadia Kodogeorgi. The event said goodbye to a friend but mainly a human, a top athlete but also a role model, the two-time silver Olympic medalist in Tae Kwon Do, Alexandros Nikolaidis, with a special and emotional message from his wife Dora Tsambazi, who united all the people with a huge hug. The ceremony was greeted by the Hall of Famer, Olympian & European Basketball Champion, Panagiotis Giannakis, as well as the Greek-American ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes.
The following athletes were awarded:
Lefteris Petrounias, Miltos Tentoglou, Stefanos Ntouskos, Vasiliki Millousi, Thodoris Vlachos, Dimitris Diamantidis, Georgios Printezis, Christos Volikakis, Maria Prevolaraki, Kristian Gkolomeev, were awarded by the Founder & CEO of Kaizen Gaming George Daskalakis.
Dean Karnazes with his parents Fran and Nick were awarded by the co-founders of Navarino Challenge, the former Executive Director of The Hellenic Initiative, Peter Poulos, and the CEO of ActiveMedia Group, Akis Tsolis.
Nasos Ghavelas was awarded by the President & CEO of Samsung Electronics Hellas, Theofilos Shin Byungmoo, for the gold Olympic medal that came to Pylos, 109 years after Tsiklitiras.
Lefteris Petrounias and Vasiliki Millousi were awarded by Marketing Manager of Europa Maria Michalopoulou for promoting sports as a family role-model.
Thodoris Vlachos was awarded by the Key Account Manager of Vikos SA, Michael Evdemon with the ethics award, representing the Greek national water polo team
The international football player of Liverpool FC, Kostas Tsimikas and the CEO of Prosport, Mr. Paschalis Tountouris, who represented the athlete were awarded by the Managing Director of Miele Hellas, Mr. Thanos Kyriazis
Grigoris Souvatzoglou was awarded by the Country Manager of The North Face, Elias Kanakis
The ambassadors Grigoris Polychronidis, Periklis Iakovakis, Evina Maltsi, Michalis Triantafyllidis, Nikos Gemelos, Joe Arlauckas, Christina Flampouri, Georgia Kaltsi were awarded by the Market Access & Public Affairs Director of Novo Nordisk, Ms. Mary Karageorgou
The instructors Mandy Persaki, Christos Gatsis, Dimitris Moros and Alexandros Nikolaidis were awarded by the owner of Sportadore & exclusive distributor of Luanvi in Greece, Mr. Manos Sifakis
Pylos-Nestor Mayor Panagiotis Karvelas who represented the Municipality of Pylos-Nestor, President of Pylos Association of Enterprises for Tourism Development and Poseidonia Restaurant owner in Pylos Vasilis Vrettakos, and the owner of the Karalis Beach Hotel and the Karalis City Hotel Dionysis Karalis were awarded by the Facilities Management Director of Costa Navarino Giorgos Panageas.
Massive Participation in the Running Activities
Amateur and professional runners, clubs, as well as athletes with disabilities from the sports club DiaforoZO took part in the running routes of this year’s Navarino Challenge. The participants ran in the Half Marathon powered by Miele, in the 10km powered by Stoiximan and in the 5km powered by Samsung even with their pets, while hundreds of children ran in the 1km powered by Vikos.
Unique gifts, the richest ever, were given to all participants. In particular, Samsung Electronics Hellas offered the unique Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro wireless headphones to the 5km finishers, Miele offered a t-shirt to finishers, while all participants received the event’s official t-shirt designed by Luanvi, Official Sports Supplier of Navarino Challenge, which featured a griffin design. At the same time, 10 lucky winners won the unique Miele Triflex Cat & Dog vacuum cleaner.
All running races were co-organized with Messiniakos Gymnastic Club and EAS SEGAS Peloponnese Region.
During this year’s event, the global pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, as the event’s Strategic Healthcare Sponsor, organized a seminar to inform and raise awareness among the audience about the chronic issue of obesity and its recognition/emergence as a disease. Key speakers of the seminar were the Greek-American ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes, the EuroLeague Legend and European Champion with Real Madrid Joe Arlauckas, and ultramarathon runner from Messinia Vasilis Koumanakos, while the Market Access & Public Affairs Director of Novo Nordisk Mary Karageorgou greeted the audience and referred to Novo Nordisk’s campaign #PameNaXasoume.
A Sustainable Event
The event ensured the implementation of sustainability principles, contributing with its actions to the protection of the environment.
In particular, PHEE is the first company in the world to use as its main raw material the dead leaves of the Posidonia Oceanica plant, and Navarino Challenge is the first event in the world to give participants a medal made of seagrass, as were also the plaques given to the honorees. It is a Greek product from a company based in the Peloponnese that innovates by promoting the principles of “green” entrepreneurship and the reuse of natural resources. At the same time, participants were given bags from recycled plastic, registrations were made with Samsung tablets replacing the use of paper, and with the assistance of the π³= Plastic Pollution Prevention powered by Miele team, they took care of the event’s zero footprint, also undertaking the cleaning of the running routes. The event’s vision is the maximum possible contribution to sustainable development in harmony with nature.
The true meaning of volunteering
The volunteers of Deree – The American College of Greece offered a significant support by encouraging all runners. Athens Medical Group supported the running activities as a Medical Partner, while the contribution of the Hellenic Rescue Team – Messinia Prefecture, which helped in the Navarino Challenge running races, was also of key importance.
Research on Greek sports tourism
For another year, the event conducted research on the financial impact of sports tourism in collaboration with Deree – The American College of Greece. The findings will be presented in the coming months.
Sharing Is Caring
Navarino Challenge, like every year, will once again contribute to society with the action of Sharing Is Caring. The items of the online sports auctions will be offered via Silent Auctions and the total revenue will benefit the following 10 non-profitable organizations – CSR Partners: A Little Shelter, Diaforozo, Dogs’ Voice, Fylakas Angelos, HOPEgenesis, Karkinaki, Mikros Prigkipas, the Social Kitchen The Other Person, π³= Plastic Pollution Prevention, Shedia street paper – Diogenes Non Profitable Organization.
Navarino Challenge took place under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and the Greek National Tourism Organization.
The event joined the Greek actions of the #BeactiveHellas 2022 program of the European Commission which is held under the auspices of the General Secretariat of Sports.
The event was organized by ActiveMedia Group which was also responsible for the event’s Sports Production.
The hashtag #navarinochallenge was the number one trend of the weekend with people uploading unique moments from the event on social media.
PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of Philadelphia and the Greater Delaware Valley announced its 2023 Greek Independence Celebrations, including the Flag Raising Ceremony at Philadelphia’s City Hall on Friday, March 31, 2 PM, kicking off the weekend of events.
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