The great celebration of the Mediterranean Beach Games “Patras 2019”

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A year ago in Patras, on August 25 2019, the 2nd Mediterranean Beach Games started with a spectacular Opening Ceremony, which was a great celebration of Mediterranean sports.

For the first time in history, athletes from all the 26 countries of the Mediterranean sports family took part, sending messages of peace, friendship, fellowship and fair play. The event exceeded expectations, further upgrading the Beach Games, with great competition and an impressive attendance of the public.

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.

The IOC members of the Mediterranean basin, Mr Mustapha Berraf (Algeria), Mr Spyros Capralos (Greece), Mr Samih Mudallal (Syria), the late President of the European Olympic Committees 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.

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.

The production team, which worked for months to organize the event, brought live on stagea unique trip to the Mediterranean Sea. 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, while the contribution of volunteers was significant.

The numbers of the 2nd Mediterranean Beach Games were impressive, proving the great improvement of the Games compared to the first event in Pescara in 2015. The 2019 Games were held in two cities (Patras, Agrinio), in four venues, in 10 stadiums and sports fields, in 11 official sports and one demonstration sport  (Aqua Walking) with the participation of 651 athletes, 426 men and 225 women, 199 referees and judges and 1,120 volunteers (63% women and 37% men).

A total of 12,082 tickets were sold, while four sporting events were sold out: the opening ceremony and the closing ceremony, as well as the beach volley finals and the aquathlon. 345 medals were awarded in 55 ceremonies.

The Games were attended by 145 media representatives (67 journalists, 24 photojournalists and 54 television accredited), while there was a 70-hour program of HD television coverage and live streaming in 40 countries via the Olympic Channel.

The success of the event is proved by the 25 race records that were achieved

These were the medals of the 2nd Mediterranean Beach Games

Greece finished in the first place of the medal table with 46 medals in total, including 19 gold, 16 silver and 11 bronze. Italy won 15 gold medals 13 silver and 11 bronze and took the 2nd place, with 39 medals in total. France took 32 medals including 13 gold, 7 silver and 12 bronze and was in the 3rd place of the medal table.

Spain, Portugal, Turkiye and Albania also won gold medals.

The mascot of the Mediterranean Beach Games was named Patreas and was a seagull.

A great achievement of the Mediterranean Games was the decision of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) to recognize the Beach Volleyball Tournament of Patras as one of the qualifying tournaments for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. This decision has a great value because it recognizes the event of the International Committee of the Mediterranean Games and it helped the teams participating in the tournament, to earn valuable points and to climb in higher places in the qualification ranking of the Tokyo Olympics.

After seven days of successful games, the curtain fell with the Closing Ceremony that took place, like the Opening Ceremony, at the “Artemis” facility. The Closing Ceremony marked the end of Patras journey and the beginning of a new journey in another part of the Mediterranean. As a follow up to the Opening Ceremony the athletes paraded together sending the message of unity and friendship among Mediterranean people.

The Closing Ceremony was a celebration of all nations, a farewell party for the delegations, an event expressing gratitude to all athletes and volunteers for their presence in the Games. Dance and music gave the signal of the end of a wonderful Mediterranean celebration.

At the end of the Ceremony, the President of the Patras Organizing Committee Mr. Nikos Papadimatos handed the flag of the Mediterranean Beach Games to the CIJM President Mr. Amar Addadi who delivered it to the Secretary General Iakovos Filippousis. The Secretary General will pass the flag to the city that will organize the 3rd Mediterranean Beach Games and as decided later, will be the Pesaro of Italy in 2023.