The 2nd Mediterranean Beach Games began with a spectacular Opening Ceremony at the city of Patras, where it will be the center of Mediterranean sport for seven days.
The Greek Deputy Minister of Sport Mr Lefteris Avgenakis declared the opening of the Games, in the presence of the ICMG President Mr Amar Addadi, the ICMG Secretary General Mr Iakovos Filippoussis, HSH Prince Albert of Monaco as well as many eminent personalities of sports from the Mediterranean countries.
Iakovos Filippousis, HSH Prince Albert of Monaco and Amar Addadi
The IOC members of the Mediterranean basin, Mr Mustapha Berraf (Algeria), Mr Spyros Capralos (Greece), Mr Samih Mudallal (Syria), the President of the European Olympic Committees Mr Janez Kocijančič, the Secretary General Mr Raffaele Pagnozzi, the Algerian Minister of Sports Mr Raouf Salim Bernaoui and the former Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou also attended the Ceremony.
From the left, Raffaele Pagnozzi, Manolis Kolibadis, Spyros Capralos, Janez Kocijančič and Zlatko Matesa
The Presidents of the National Olympic Committees of Croatia Mr Zlatko Matesa, of Albania Mr Viron Bezhani, Andorra Mr Jaume Marti Mandico, Kosovo Mr Besim Hasani, Croatia Mr Zlatko Matesa, Portugal Mr José Manuel Constantino, San Marino Mr Gian Primo Giardi, Lebanon Mr Jean Hammam and Malta Mr Julian Pace Bonello were also present, as well as the members of the ICMG Executive Board, many Vice Presidents and Secretaries General of the Mediterranean National Olympic Committees, the President of the World Underwater Federation (CMAS) Ms Anna Arzhanova and the President of the International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) Mr Jose Antonio Perez Priego.
Athletes and members of delegations of the 26 Mediterranean countries paraded during the ceremony sending the message of peace, peoples’ friendship and Fair play. The production team, which worked for months to prepare this day, brought a unique trip to the Mediterranean live on stage. From Spain to the Balkans and from North Africa to Greece and Patras. Music, movement, dance, theater and state-of-the-art technology accompanied the trip to the Mediterranean Sea. Water and sand were the main elements of the Ceremony, elements that constitute the Beach Games of Patras. More than 35 artists (singers, musicians, dancers, acrobats) were on stage, whilst the contribution of the volunteers was of great importance
In his address, the President of the International Committee of Mediterranean Games Mr. Amar Addadi said:
“Greece welcomes us again in a big multisport event and offers us a great opportunity to return to the origins of Olympism. Greece is the pillar of Olympism. We are close to the city of Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games of Antiquity. And we are not far from Athens, where they were revived in 1896, celebrating the 1st Olympic Games of the modern era. Athens had also hosted the Mediterranean Games in 1991, and the Olympic Games in 2004.
Due to the economic crisis that has affected the country, Greece has been rejected the organizing of major sporting events for more than 10 years. And we are happy that the Mediterranean Games can help Greece regain its rightful place on the international sports scene. Our Mediterranean Games, with nearly 70 years of history, are modernizing with the Beach Games, a festive event, which clearly expresses the aquatic element and the symbolism of the Mediterranean Sea to which we are all deeply attached.
I want to thank the National Olympic Committees and their leaders for their trust in our movement. Our Games are a message of hope and peace, a vision for the future and for a Mediterranean Region of brotherhood and peace.»
Τhe President of the Organizing Committee Mr. Nikos Papadimatos said:
«Two years ago, the International Committee of Mediterranean Games confided Greece and the city of Patras, to host and organize these modern and outstanding Games. We would like to thank you for this great honor!
Inside the sea water and pool, on the sand, in two different cities, 4 venues and 10 fields of play. 11 sports, missions from 26 countries from three continents, more than 700 athletes and 1000 volunteers.
While the community of Sports focuses on our beautiful city from today until 31st of August, we are going to accept the challenge. Because of these Games, Greece will aim again to similar great international organizations. Our Games start today, but they will not end on Sunday. The next day we have to invest to this organization, to infrastructures, man power, technical know – how and experience we gain from the organization. After giving great thanks to all contributing to this organization, as president of the Organizing Committee, I want to invite all citizens of Patras and our visitors to join in our celebration. I want to call, according to Greek hospitality the athletes and their escorts, as well as the fans coming to our city. I would like to promise and commit myself that we will do our best so as to credit the choice of ICMG, to give a good impression and organize unforgettable Games!»