Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens players welcomed some special visitors to a recent practice session: athletes from Special Olympics Hellas, who were invited to spend time with the Greens as part of the club’s work with One Team, Euroleague Basketball’s social responsibility program.
Panathinaikos is running its ‘Basketball is Everywhere’ project in association with Special Olympics Hellas, with the club’s One Team Ambassador Ian Vougioukas playing a very active role in supporting the activities.
But on this occasion Vougioukas was joined by the rest of his teammates and the club’s coaching staff in welcoming the young visitors, who had a great time playing with their heroes.
“Sport brings everyone together,” said Vougioukas as he reflected on the very successful visit. “It allows people to build good relationships, to fill time constructively and to create strong friendships that can last for the rest of your life.”
Panathinaikos coach Xavi Pascual was also present, and he added: “It was a fantastic day and activities like this are very important. It is very positive for our players to spend time with the athletes from Special Olympics Hellas. They have the chance to play with top professional athletes, but on the other side, we had the chance to play with top people. It's amazing for both sides.
“Professional athletes love basketball, of course, but there is something special about how Special Olympics Hellas athletes play. They are playing exclusively for their love of the game and you can feel their enthusiasm for basketball. Their love for basketball is pure. It was a lot of fun and very nice to see them.”
From his side, the Ambassador and President of Special Olympics Hellas, Dionysios Kodellas, said: “We are happy and grateful for the support provided by Panathinaikos Superfoods, embracing our basketball team. I saw the enthusiasm of our athletes every time they came to the program and we are delighted that such a big club has ‘adopted’ us.
“I would also like to emphasize with everything that Panathinaikos Superfoods does for us, it motivates their own sponsors to become ours and that is also a great achievement.”
One Team, supported by Turkish Airlines as the One Team Founding Patron and with the collaboration of Special Olympics as Proud Partner, uses basketball to achieve meaningful social impact in our communities across Europe and is supported by every club in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup.
Since its founding in 2012, the One Team program has already helped more than 14,000 participants through its various team-focused projects.