European Championships | 9 Oct 2013
Greece set Schwechat on fire
Who thought Greece will play in the final of the 2013 LIEBHERR European Championships… but they did and they did it in great style. They put six time champions, Germany, on severe pressure and produced one of the most spectacular finals. Eventually they h
Who thought Greece will play in the final of the 2013 LIEBHERR European Championships… but they did and they did it in great style. They put six time champions, Germany, on severe pressure and produced one of the most spectacular finals. Eventually they had to settle with silver, after they reached the medal rostrum for a first time in the history of the European Championships.
Man whose games paved that path was Panagiotis GIONIS, but the contribution of Kalinikos KREANGA, legend who already won 12 medals at the biggest Championships and Konstantinos PAPAGIORGIU who lost only one match throughout whole tournament was not to be denied.
“Once again in the final, GIONIS performed at the highest level. He took the pressure after Dimitrij OVTCHAROV overcame KREANGA and showed mental power in situation where BAUM was 2:0 in the lead. He recovered from 2:0 in reverse to win the match. Against Dimitrij OVTCHAROV GIONIS took an early lead, put him under pressure and lost two next game 12:10. ”
Before the final PAPAGEORGIU was unbeaten. Patrick FRANZISKA spoiled that record. “PAPAGEORGIU is a very clever player, strong and calm. He can make a big damage to the much better ranked players and he proved that here and so many times before. He beat WALDNER at the World Championships in Paris in 2003 in singles. In Austria his role in creation of this success was huge.”
The match against Portugal gave power to the Greek team. “We were prepared for them. GIONIS established himself as a player who knows how to beat left-handers. FREITAS , MONTEIRO and BAUM, all suffered by his hands here. The victory over Portugal gave us fuel and launched us into the orbit. The victory against Belarus did not come as a surprise. We already beat them, even without KREANGA in Sankt Petersburg. GIONIS, also, already succeeded against SAMSONOV before. We were not favorites, but we know what it takes to succeed.”
One and only KREANGA finally achieved his dream. “Kalinikos already won 12 big medals, but he dreamed about the one in Team’s. I know that his personal desire was to say Goodbye with the team’s medal. I do not say he will do it now, but now he can finally be relived. For years now, we carefully plan all his matches, appearances, and tournaments. He is focused only on biggest championships and French league, to avoid injury and to performs on a highest level for a national team.”
Asked to compare the team’s and singles medals KREANGA was clear: “ You can not compare it. The feeling of having the medal in Team’s Event is something we all live for. We worked together for 20 years in Athens’ Olympic Center for this.”
Coach VATSAKLIS thanked to national federation and praised personal efforts of President Emmanuel KOLIBADIS for a great support in period of heavy financial crises. “Our funds are dry. Only support we have is from our National federation and great enthusiasm of President KOLIBADIS.”