Rhodes has a long and glorious tradition in sport. From the first Olympic Games of antiquity, Rhodian athletes have excelled. Among them, the names of Diagoras, the great Olympic champion, and many members of his family renowned for its champions, as well as Leonidas the Rhodian, have come down in history to attest to the value placed on sport in Rhodes. The Ancient Stadium has born witness to many athletic triumphs of Rhodians in antiquity including achievements during the Aleia Games, dedicated to the protector of the island, Helios, the sun god.
Today, sport in Rhodes is promoted through sports clubs and associations. The first such association in modern times, Peserodus, was founded in 1903, whereas Diagoras, the most well-known and still active today, was established in 1905. The Municipal Organization for Sport and Youth supports the efforts of these associations. Among the more popular sports are football, cycling, tennis, sailing, rowing and shooting. Athletic facilities were first developed during the Italian period while new venues continue to be built, expanded and improved.
Athletes of modern Rhodes have shared with their fellow citizens many moments of glory and patriotic pride. They have excelled in stadiums in Greece and abroad, winning medals and sometimes breaking records while always showing good sportsmanship and competing in true athletic spirit.
Since 1997, Rhodes has been a member of the International Island Games Association (www.islandgames.net), which is composed of 25 islands from all over the world. The Association holds athletic Games every two years, hosted by one of its member Islands. Athletes compete in 14 sports, selected by the host Island, from the 18 official sports of the Association. In July 2007, Rhodes hosted the Games with the participation of 3,500 athletes who competed in 38 venues throughout the Island. (For details – www.rhodes2007.info)
Hosting the Games offered an excellent opportunity to develop new facilities, refurbish existing ones, obtain new sports equipment and acquire invaluable organizational know-how. As a result, local athletes will have the opportunity to improve their performance through access to better facilities and equipment. In addition, Rhodes now has the infrastructure and know-how to host major athletic events, as well as to offer the possibility for the training of individual athletes and teams in a variety of sports. Athletic facilities in Rhodes include a modern 400m, 8 lane athletics track, a number of indoor, wooden-floor sports halls, several green-set tennis courts, an archery field having all the necessary equipment including chronometers, football pitches of natural and synthetic surfaces, table tennis equipment and a new, indoor air gun shooting range.
In summary, Rhodes has the facilities and equipment in place for Athletics, Basketball, Volleyball, Beach Volley, Football, Swimming, Sailing, Windsurfing, Triathlon, Cycling, Tennis, Table Tennis, Archery, Judo and Shooting as well as the know–how to organize events. Adding to this the excellent climatic conditions, the uniqueness of the natural environment, the ambience of the town as well as top quality accommodations, it is easy to understand that the City of Rhodes has the capability to host major sports events.
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