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December 1, 2016
They are from different worlds, 6,000 miles apart, but US sports legend Tamika Catchings and Cypriot student Eleni Partakki found themselves together on the basketball court celebrating a special moment in time.
Laureus Ambassador Tamika is one of the greatest players in WNBA history and was a member of the invincible US women’s Olympic team. Eleni is a participant in PeacePlayers International, a Laureus-supported project which encourages Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot boys and girls to play basketball together.
So what connected Tamika and Eleni – apart from their mutual love of basketball? It was a unique drawing competition, which hundreds of young people from Laureus projects around the world entered, and which Eleni won.
Her winning design became the back cover of a distinctive IWC watch – the 2016 Portofino Automatic Moon Phase 37 Edition Laureus Sport for Good Foundation - sales of which will raise funds for Laureus. With a theme of ‘Time for Sport’, Eleni’s drawing shows boys and girls playing with a ball, just as they do at PeacePlayers.
“Congratulations to Eleni. That's something unique she has achieved and she can be very proud. Her drawing was all about Time for Sport, but here in Cyprus it could just as easily be about Time for Peace and Harmony. This is a great project that breaks down historic barriers between the communities and shows just what sport can achieve. And special thanks to IWC who have been raising funds for Laureus Sport for Good for more than 10 years by means of this watch. It’s a really imaginative idea.” said Laureus Ambassador Tamika Catchings.
Eleni Partakki added: “In all honesty, I never thought my drawing would win. I believed that people wouldn’t manage to understand the message behind the drawing, or understand how much it means to me. Sport can play a big part in bringing us all together in Cyprus. It’s really good at the project that we can talk to people we would never normally get the chance to meet. That’s so important for all our futures. I was so excited to meet Tamika and listen to her talking about her successes and her challenges. She was so inspiring.”
Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen said: “Many children and teenagers growing up in Cyprus are suffering because of the division of the island. The drawing by Eleni Partakki beautifully captures how sports can build positive relationships and overcome generations of mistrust. The project in which Eleni takes part epitomizes the core values of the Laureus Sports for Good Foundation, and these values are also at the foundation of IWC’s ongoing commitment to improving society."
Tamika came to Nicosia to congratulate Eleni and to show her support for the work which the project does in Cyprus, which has been divided by a UN buffer zone since a war between the Greek and Turkish communities in 1974 split the island. PeacePlayers brings together young people from the two communities to play, learn and build positive relationships that overcome generations of mistrust.
To see Eleni’s winning design, click here.