ATHENS, May 20 (Xinhua) -- In a country where the sea plays a major role in everyday life, it is no wonder water sports are popular in Greece.
As sailing is part of the country's centuries-long history, there are more than 100 sailing clubs and schools across the country to teach children from an early age how to sail.
"Over the last 25 years, the successful results in Olympic Games and international tournaments thanks to the proper structure developed by the Greek Sailing Federation have led many children to sailing," Tzortzis Kefallonitis, instructor from Kalamaki offshore sailing school told Xinhua.
Greece won 35 medals in world and European sailing championships in 2017.
According to the Hellenic Sailing Federation, more than 8,000 children and adults train in offshore and dinghy sailing in Greece.
Sailing requires special skills. Besides physical fitness and muscular strength, an important performance parameter is the mental part. "Sailing is mostly a mental challenge. Either you like it or not. If it suits you, it will follow you for the rest of your life," Kefallonitis noted.
The last two years, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC) gives the opportunity to children from 6 to 17 years old, children with mental disability and adults to attend a series of interactive sailing events on different types of boats in the canal every weekend, in groups of 15 persons with free admission.
"Interested enthusiastic individuals have the opportunity to learn more about sailing, the theory, the terminology of the boat, the use of the sails, how to cooperate in groups," Kefallonitis who is also responsible for the activity at the SNFCC told Xinhua.
Though sailing in the canal has a limited space in comparison to sailing offshore, participants can understand what happens in the boat and the dynamic that is being developed.
"The goal of this initiative is to learn the basic principles, maybe inspire people to seek for more in sailing clubs and come closer to the water sports culture," Kefallonitis said.
In Greece, there are sailing clubs from the northern part of the country in Alexandroupoli to the southern in Crete.
"We try to support every district of the country by organizing youth and adult races, so more people could join offshore sailing classes," he stressed.