ATHLETICS IN CYCLADES: A NEW ERA
It was back in 1897 when one of the Athletics Club in Cyclades, G.U. TINOS, became the founding member of the Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS). From 19th century to the present, Athletics in Cyclades has had its good and not-so-good times, with short periods of heyday and long intervals of stagnation.
Since 2013, when the new Board Council of EAS SEGAS CYCLADES took on, two mid-term and long-term targets have been set: on a personal level, the improvement of athletes’ performances and on a collective level, the setting up of new athletics clubs on the islands. The members of EAS SEGAS CYCLADES worked tirelessly on their vision and the results are really awesome, with a continuous ascending progress for athletics in Cyclades: very important athletic achievements in track and field events and eve-rising participation rates in the sports.
Today, the athletes that officially belong to the 11 Cyclades Clubs are more than 1000 and dozens of amateur runners work out on our islands, promoting and augmenting the racing movement.
EAS SEGAS CYCLADES, in collaboration with the Region of South Aegean and many Municipalities of Cyclades, organises on an annual basis a great number of developmental competitions, interclub athletic meetings, races and national championships.
Recognizing the particularities of the islands, special focus is placed on developmental categories, that is, athletes up to 17 years old, as many of them leave the islands for further studies in higher education. For this reason, competitions are organised quite often for developmental ages, with emphasis on their multi-dimensional character: diathlon and thiathlon competitions, and combined events are numerous depending on the age of the participants.
The Kids’ Athletics program has been the main tool of developing track and field athletics on our islands. It has been organised on 20 out of 24 inhabited islands of Cyclades in cooperation with the Department of Physical Education (Ministry of Education, Directorate of Primary Education in Cyclades).
At the moment in Cyclades, there are 11 Athletics Clubs: Panaxiakos, and Naxiakos, A.C. Filoti “Zeus” (Naxos), A.C. Mykonos, Hephaestus Santorini, A.C. Paros, Andriakos, Ajax Tinos & Poseidon Tinos, Pammiliaos and Hierax Plakon (Milos).
Regarding athletics infrastructure, due the island small scale, Cyclades host 4 stadiums, 3 of which with elastic surface. The most adequate and inclusive stadium is located on Naxos with a 6-lane 400 m elastic surface track and infrastructure of high standards. Mykonos also hosts a 6-lane 350 m elastic surface track stadium, which has been recently renovated and equally good infrastucture. Andros has a 8-lane 400 m elastic surface track stadium. Finally, Milos has a 6-lane 400 m track.
On the rest of the islands, athletics is hosted in different venues, such as football stadiums, basketball courts, schoolyards, even in fields and sandlots. Taking into consideration the geographical fragmentation of Cyclades and with the belief that infrastructure ara not only a necassity but also the basic parameter for the promotion and improvement of athletics, EAS SEGAS CYCLADES has another ultimate goal: with the help of the national and regioanl authorities, to contribute to the creation of the necessary infrastructure for track and fierld sports on every island.
A lot of Greek athletes of high caliber compete as members of Athletics Clubs in Cyclades. Many of them have taken part in the Olympic Games, World and European Championships. Alexander Papamihail (race walk), Maria Belibasaki (200m, 400m), Andreas Dimitrakis (1500m) are some of the most prestigious athletes of Cyclades Athletics at the moment.
Organising for the first time in Greece the “portarathlon” International Combined Events Meeting on Naxos is part of EAS SEGAS CYCLADES’ vision and committement: to further promote athletics in Cyclades, to stress its economic and social positive impact and to promote Cyclades and Greek Athletic abroad are some of the aims of this meeting.
We do hope that the increase in access to athletics, the ideal climate conditions for track and field sports in Cyclades and their important presence in island societies will be prominent in this event too.