The Educational Games were staged for the third time – over the last week of April. Indeed, the Educational Games concluded as the Greek religious festival of Easter commenced.
The Organising Committee provided a varied and memorable programme for all participants. Central to the Games are the ancient facilities with such historic significance to world sport. 73 students from 8 delegations and 6 countries participated in this year’s Games (Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Cyprus, England, France, Special Olympics Great Britain).
Accommodated at the International Olympic Academy (IOA) for the first time. The Academy is located immediately adjacent to the Ancient site of the Games. The students participated in the guided tour of the beautiful Olympic park. The young participants strolled through the historic and atmospheric site of statues and ancient buildings, populated by wild olive and plane trees. And then – enjoyed a memorable experience of running in the original ancient Olympic “Stadium Run” of 192m. All participants were awarded an olive wreath as a token of participation. A fascinating guided tour of the park provided for all students. Some of the stories of the rules and practices in the ancient Games were a revelation for many!
The International Olympic Academy hosted, local Physical Education Teachers and their respective Association organized, a mixed 5-aside football event and were taught some Greek dancing, in particular the sirtaki, in the impressive grounds of the Academy. The most impressive aspect of the Games was the way that the students -along with their coaches- played and got on with the other students boys and girls, who they had never met before. A memorable and marvelous atmosphere of fun and enjoyment! Each country was given a short presentation within the IOA archive museum.
Everyone involved with the 3rd ISF Education Games were really honored to have Rosa Mota with them for the entire period of the Games. Rosa gave an inspirational address to the participants whilst we were housed at the IOA. What up privilege it was for all present to listen and meet with Rosa Mota (The Best Woman Marathon Runner Ever – according to Association of International Marathons and Distance Races / AIMS – the winner of the first ever women’s Marathon Race, Olympic gold medalist, World and European Champion etc.). Rosa provided such an inspirational of a role model for Sport, how warm a personality with time for everyone, her humility and her experience will long be remembered by everybody present. Rosa present at the games was courtesy of “Save the Dream” – a Qatar Olympic committee project.
The start venue for the Athens Classic Marathon providing the Olympic Games venue for Classic Marathon and the Marathon museum, provided the ISF Education Games with the perfect stage for the young participants to experience the historical significance of the Marathon. This year the ISF Educational Games students were able to watch Rosa Mota running a leg of the Olympic Torch really as it completed its run around the country of Greece, before it was handed to host nation 2016 Brazil for their own run around Brazil. The young participants were encouraged to return home and to take some of the ancient values of sport into practice.
The final day included a guided tour through the archaeological remains, in the city centre. In particular, the Acropolis. And then late in the afternoon, onto the spectacular Panathenaic Stadium, the Venue of the 1st Modern Olympic Games in 1896. What a spectacular place to complete the formal programme! The ISF Games attracted a lot of attention on that day. The ISF President Laurent Petrynka had been invited to run one of the very final stages of the Olympic Torch relay. He was accompanied by a number of the senior members of the Brazilian delegation.
With the great support of the City of Athens, Marathon and Olympia, the International Olympic Academy, the International School Sport Federation, and the Kinder+Sport program the young people had the opportunity to develop a range of skills with the purpose of acquiring fair play attitude and to enhance their physical activity. All the sports and education network represented by 100 young students, physical education teachers and young volunteers devoted themselves to celebrate the #joyofmoving all together.