By George Georgakopoulos
Thirty-five countries will participate in the European Short-Course Swimming Championship that opens on Thursday at Chartres, France, but Greece is not among them, as the financial problems have forced the Greek federation to sharply reduce its expenses.
Instead, Greek swimmers will only take part in the World Short-Course Championship to take place next month in Istanbul. This comes after the cash-strapped government’s decision to slash funding for sports federations, that has forced a number of them to announce they will stop operating as of January 1, 2013.
“The reasons for that absence are mostly financial, as we are not able anymore to send swimmers to both championships,” the head of the Swimming Federation of Greece (KOE), Dimitris Diathesopoulos told the Greek press.
Even at the Worlds in Turkey, though, Greek participation will be very small. KOE has announced the participation of Nora Drakou, Andreas Vazeos and Kristel Vourna, although it is not certain the latter will make the trip from the US, where she studies, in order to compete.
The federation has also announced that not every swimmer to make the mark for next summer’s World Championship in Barcelona will be certain to take part in that event, depending on the level of state funding. In such a case, the selection of athletes will also be based on the points each one has at his or her event in the international federation chart.