Europe Top-16 Cup

Panagiotis GIONIS will keep the Greek flag flying high in Thessaloniki

On his seventh appearance at the POMEGRANATE Europe Top 16 Cup in Thessaloniki, Panagiotis GIONIS has a chance for the first time to play in front of his home crowd. On 18 and 19 September, the five-time Olympian, will keep the Greek flag flying high in second biggest city in Greece.

"It is amazing that Greece finally will host one of the biggest events in Europe and for me it will be very exciting that I will have the opportunity to play for first time in this level with the best players of Europe in front of the Greek public," admitted GIONIS.

GIONIS also pointed out that he expects the event will generate a lot of attention.

"Thessaloniki is a very beautiful city and it is a great opportunity for the people of Greece, not only table tennis fans, to watch the best players of Europe live! I am sure that the venue will be a full house. In addition, I am sure that it will be exciting like always and I am sure that the Greek Federation with the help of ETTU will organize everything perfectly."

The venue is YMCA Sports Center "Mimis TSIKINAS". Despite his big international experience, the European silver medalist has not had a chance to play there yet.

"It will be the first time I will play in this venue and in Thessaloniki," explained GIONIS who was born in Athens.

From his previous six apparencies in the Europe Top 16, GIONIS singled out one memory in particular.

"My fondest memory is from Baku 2014 when I won the bronze medal! My performance was amazing; I beat the legendary Vladimir SAMSONOV in the group stage and I had an amazing match in the semifinal against Dimitrij OVTCHAROV that I lost 4-3."

At the Olympics in Tokyo, GIONIS beat Zolt PETE and Ahmed SALEH before he lost to JEOUNG Youngsik.

"I had one of the best performances in my career and also the most unluckiest against JEOUNG Youngsik. For me it was very difficult after this defeat, but this is the magic of sport and I have to live with this and to go through for new goals."

The Greek star took a short break after the Olympic Games in Japan.

"I had a few days to rest, but not as much as I would like. However, always after the Olympics there is not enough time. On the other hand I'm very motivated for this season generally, so I cannot wait to start. Right now I am in Greece with my teammates in the national team and I will try to enjoy it."