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Metadrasi - Together in Sport 190624 15

Together in Sport – Together in Taekwondo

Metadrasi - Together in Sport 190624 15

400 refugee and Greek children unite in sports on the occasion of World Refugee Day

An athletic event unlike any other took place on June 19 at the Panathenaic Stadium, where hundreds of young refugees joined their peer athletes from local communities for the “Together in Sport – Together in Taekwondo” activity.

In total, 200 children and young refugees from facilities inside and outside Attica, aged 7 to 21 years old, met with 200 athletes from the Hellenic Taekwondo Federation who demonstrated and presented basic techniques of the sport.

This special event was organized in the framework of the “Together in Sport – Phase II” project, implemented by METAdrasi in cooperation with the Hellenic Olympic Committee, as part of the activities that took place during the Refugee Week Greece Festival. The event owes its success to the partnership with the Hellenic Taekwondo Federation, the Athens Olympic Museum, and UNHCR Greece.

The children bonded immediately, as if they had been friends for a long time. Greek children from local Taekwondo clubs demonstrated techniques to their refugee peers, while the refugee children eagerly showcased their athletic abilities and shared their enthusiasm for learning this new sport. “I’m very happy because I didn’t know that kids my age can do such impressive things!” said 10-year-old Aysha*, while Nasser* said with enthusiasm, “I made new friends, learned some awesome moves, and I really want to learn Taekwondo!

During the event, the young participants had the opportunity to admire the silver medal and the body armour of the Olympic Taekwondo champion Alexandros Nikolaidis from the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games. These two unique exhibits were donated by the Nikolaidis family to the Athens Olympic Museum, that showcased them during the event, and form part of its permanent collection ever since.

The children were also impressed by the exhibition of drawings from the Panhellenic Contest “We are all on the same team” organized by UNHCR, in which more than 1,800 students from all over the country participated with sketches, posters, and comics.

The event was honored by the presence of notable guests, including the first Greek Olympic Champion, Morfou Drosidou, the Deputy Minister of Migration and Asylum, Sofia Voultepsi, the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Spyros Kapralos, the President of the Hellenic Taekwondo Federation, Michael Fysentzidis, the Deputy Mayor for Social Integration of Migrants and Refugees, Thanasis Cheimonas, the President of the Board of Directors of O.P.A.N.D.A., Eleni Zontirou, and the Representative of the UNHCR in Greece, Maria Clara Martin.

The festive evening came to an end with all the young participants smiling, as they were carrying souvenirs of the event and free entrance vouchers to the permanent exhibition of the Athens Olympic Museum. Most importantly, the children once again demonstrated in a unique way that sport unites people without any discrimination!

We warmly thank the Social Cooperative Enterprise Isida, which undertook the collection and transport of recyclable material used during the event.

“Together in Sport – Phase II” is implemented by METAdrasi (project coordinator), the Hellenic Olympic Committee, and the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB). The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) supports with coordination and co-funding. The project is also co-funded by the AMIF (2021-2027). The action is carried out in cooperation with municipalities across various regions of Greece.

* Names have been changed for the protection of the children.

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