The Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation actively stands by athletes with disabilities, following the decision of its President and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna V. Vardinoyannis to sponsor four athletes with disabilities.

Specifically, the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation is sponsoring the following athletes: Stefanos Diamantis (wheelchair tennis), Stylianos Bakopoulos (athletics), Evangelia Nikou (alpine ski) and Alexandra-Alkistis Stamatopoulou Ghiatis (swimming). It will support their efforts towards the Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympics and the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics.

Mrs Vardinoyannis met with the athletes on Friday 1 February 2019, talked with them and reassured them that she would be standing by them and supporting them every step of the way.  “Today is truly unique because our Foundation has been given the chance to stand by the Greek athletes who will be competing at the Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Paralympics. These young people make us truly proud and we will support them every step of the way.  Each one of these athletes is an example of power and fighting spirit, as well as undeniable proof that the strength of one’s soul can overcome all obstacles. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for the message of hope conveyed by their tireless efforts for the Greek colours and I wish all four athletes, as well as the entire delegation, the best of luck!” noted Mrs Vardinoyannis when speaking to the athletes.

The athletes thanked Mrs Vardinoyannis for her support and spoke in detail about their struggles and efforts to be able to represent Greece at the Paralympic Games

On his part, the President of the Hellenic Paralympic Committee, Mr Giorgos Fountoulakis stated,  “Today is a special joyous occasion. On behalf of the Paralympic Committee and the Hellenic Sports Federation for Persons with Disabilities, let me thank Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis. It is not unprecedented for her to be here, as she has always stood by us. This time she undertook to sponsor four athletes so as to help them meet their goal, the Tokyo Paralympics.  I hope others who have the means will follow on her footsteps and support the young people who truly deserve it.  The important thing is that Mrs Vardinoyannis is emotionally connected to us and that’s what counts the most. It is not just a formality; it is not just offering help, but feeling this help deep inside you emotionally, listening to the hardships, the difficulties and the intricacies of their struggles. That’s what’s big for us.”

At the end of the ceremony, Mrs Vardinoyannis gave a copy of her book Labouring with the Challenges of Female Identity: Insights into Minoan Society and a 2019 ELPIDA good luck charm to each athlete.