Last night’s opening ceremony of the Cyprus Special Olympics at the old port of Limassol, brought smiles and excitement to 600 people with intellectual disabilities, from Cyprus, Greece and Malta, with hundreds of citizens applauding and cheering on the athletes, who will participate in the games, under the slogan “Strong Together – Winners Together”.

The Cyprus Special Olympics are organised by the Cyprus Special Olympics Federation (KOEO).

Limassol Mayor, Nicos Nicolaides, announced the opening of the Cyprus Special Olympics 2024, in the presence of First Lady, Philippa Karsera Christodoulides, the Minister of Education, Sport and Youth, Athena Michailidou, the Minister of Justice and Public Order, Marios Hartsiotis and the Deputy Minister of Shipping, Marina Hadjimanolis.

The ceremony started with a parade of the athletes, who marched to the tunes played by the Police philharmonic band, followed by the entrance of the priestesses, the lighting of the flame, the anthem of the Cyprus Special Olympics and the raising of the flag, as well as the swearing-in of athletes and their trainers.

In his greeting, read by Education Minister, Athena Michailidou, the President of the Republic underlined that the games have no winner, “because they are all winners, from the start”, adding that the athletes’ perseverance and patience, as well as the high level of competitiveness they demonstrate, remaining at the same time, committed to the high principles and values of Olympism, make them a model and example for everyone.

First Lady Philippa Karsera Christodoulides, who is also honorary President of the KOEO, said that the Special Olympics athletes participating in the games this year represent, “in the brightest way”, the dynamics of human will, the importance of fair play, and sportsmanship. She also said that the Nikos Christodoulides Government has put sports high on its agenda as well as the better inclusion of people with disabilities into society.

In his own, greeting, Mayor Nicolaides, welcomed to Limassol, the athletes, trainers, attendants and volunteers “to these unique games of life”, where everyone is a winner, he said.

He noted that Limassol was a sports city, which has won the title of the European City of Sport, and which has hosted dozens of sports events of international prestige, but that they were proud to host, for the first time, the Cyprus Special Olympics.

The event also addressed President of the Board of Directors of KOEO, Maria Vassiliadou, the General Secretary of KOEO, member of the International Executive Board and of the Special Olympics International Advisory Committee, Dr. Eleni Rossidou and the KOEO athlete, Christos Kasoulides.

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