Katerina Stefanidi and Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou, the two pole vaulters who took gold and silver for Greece at the European Championships in Berlin on Thursday, have dedicated their win to all the people who suffered in last month’s deadly fires in Attica.
“This success will not bring people back, nor the homes and cars that have been burned. We can only hope to offer some joy to the people [affected],” Stefanidi told reporters after her win.
“I want to dedicate it to the people that have suffered in Attica mainly, but also to everyone who has supported me all these years [and] also to my daughter, my federation and my sponsors,” Kyriakopoulou said.
Stefanidi, Greece’s pole vault master who owns all the major outdoor titles, successfully defended her title with a 4.85 m effort, ahead of Kyriakopoulou, who took her first European silver for a 4.80 leap.
The star of Greek track and field in recent years, Stefanidi went for 4.96 meters but failed to clear it in three attempts.
Politicians have been lining up to congratulate the two pole vaulters.
“With your new prestigious European distinction, you wholeheartedly confirm your position at the top of world athletics,” said President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
“Greece’s successes in the European track and field championship again brings a smile to everyone’s face,” tweeted Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
“The achievement of the two medals proves that talent, the competitive ethos, determination, hard work, consistency and determination are rewarded,” said Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis.
The women’s victory had “elevated Greece to the position it deserves. You have made us proud again,” tweeted New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis.