Nikos Samaras Award
This prize was introduced to the memory of the great volleyball player, who was a graduate of the School of Physical Education and Sport Science of Democritus University and perished ingloriously in 2013. Nikos Samaras was one of the top volleyball players that our country has featured. He fought at the diagonal position and stood out 263 times internationally. He has distinguished himself for his “staggering” serve with a leap and his quick dunk.
He started his career playing in the team of Orestiada, which he also led on to become one of the country’s top in the 90s. In fact, with this team, he reached the second position of the Confederation Cup (now Challenge Cup) in 1995, losing to the final from the mighty Pallavolo Parma with 3-0 sets.
In 1998, he left Orestiada for the Italian Falconara. A year later, he returned to Greece to compete in the volleyball team Iraklis in Thessaloniki, where he won the Greek Cup in 2000. In the summer of 2000, he got a transfer to Panathinaikos, where he stayed until 2002. He then competed in AEK, in the Spanish team of Seville, in the Turkish Fenerbahce, in the Swiss Senau, in the Ethnikos Alexandroupolis and completed his career in Milona, at the age of 42. He was the only Greek volleyball player who has ever taken part in the championships of five countries.
He played 263 times with Men’s National Greek team (12th on the list of the Hellenic Volleyball Federation) and in 1994 he won the 6th place in the World Volleyball Championship, held in Greece. He was also 160 times internationalist with the National Youth team, with which he won the 6th place at the World Championship in 1989 in Athens.
«At the 29th ICPESS, the award “Nikos Samaras” will be awarded to the leading Greek marathon runner and holder of the Panhellenic Performance Maria Polyzou.»
Maria Polyzou is the first female Greek runner to have competed in an Olympic Marathon, in Atlanta in 1996 Olympians was reclaimed in 2018 OLY.
She was the Greek champion for 20 consecutive years and remains to date the Greek record holder with a time of 2:33.40. She also holds the Greek record at the Authentic Course from Marathon to Athens with a time of 2:39.10 since the World Championship of 1997, where she took the 12th spot and the 11th since the European Championship of 1998 Budapest. She has broken 14 national records in various distances. He has run He 48 marathons around the world and continues even today She has run a total of more than 280,000 kilometers,e. over five times around the globe.
In 2010 she repeated a feat from global history On the anniversary of 2,500 years since the Battle of Marathon she ran the distance from Athens to Sparta, had an hour’s rest and ran all the way back to Acropolis and then on to the tomb of the warriors killed in the Battle of Marathon (in 490 BC). Within seven days Maria ran 524 kilometers, a distance equivalent to 13 Marathon races (42.195 km each). This is the Pheidippides Feat and Maria Polyzou is the only woman ever, from antiquity until today, to have completed it.
Besides her huge physical stamina, she is a woman of even greater spiritual strength, destined to offer people and the society everything that those countless kilometers have inscribed in her soul. Those kilometers have given her the life attitude summarized in Nothing is Impossible! She has also traveled to countries such as Kenya, India and Ethiopia and has offered her selfless services to people in need.
In 2007 she had a decisive contribution to the creation of the Museum of the Marathon Race at Marathon, where she also served as the director for four years.
Nominated Ambassador of Marathon in 2009
She is members of the ‘AIMS Women’s Commission’ bring decades of experience in the sport of running and in working to promote female participation and empowerment around the world.
Following a formal invitation by the organisers, she carried the Marathon Flame from the town of Marathon – that gave birth to the race – to the international Marathons of Boston, Prague, Xiamen (China) and Mumbai.
She is the author of the “Spirit and Body: The Timeline of a Feat of 524 km” book, published by The Great Oar, and has delivered dozens of lectures on the values of sport and of the Marathon that she adores. In recent years she has been a commentator on the Athens Marathon in Greek state television, while featuring in several TV shows and media interviews. She has also been honoured by many clubs and organizations in recent years. In recent years, it has been broadcast on television ‘ KEEP RUNNING’ and radio and encourages young people to get involved in running and giving them advice. She writes in many journals and columns on running.
In 2012 she founded “Marathon Team Greece by Maria Polyzou” and coaches runners of all ages, offering them coaching support in order for them to experience their personal feat. She has coached more than 5,000 runners as well as several running teams of large corporations.
Maria Polyzou is a myth, and a living legend! She is the woman whose trademark will always be her bright smile that she offers to everyone around her and constitutes an inspiration for many people!