The government and opposition New Democracy clashed Wednesday over comments by three-time Olympic gold medal winner and former PASOK MP Pyrros Dimas on Tuesday that he was forced to leave Greece and head to the US because the SYRIZA-led government slashed funding to the weightlifting federation he was advising.
Dimitris Papadimoulis, a SYRIZA member of the European Parliament, dismissed the claim by Dimas saying in a tweet that he “more likely found a better job in the US, rather than booted out.”
ND vice president Adonis Georgiadis derided the comment by Papadimoulis and admonished him, also in a tweet, for mocking Dimas’s complaint that he was driven out of the country. The former Olympic weightlifting champion said the government forced him to leave Greece because he was a member of another party.
“From the moment SYRIZA came to power, they cut 55 percent from the Greek Federation,” he told Arena FM radio station on Tuesday, adding that, in doing so, they raised obstacles to the emergence of a new generation of athletes, who can no longer take part and compete in international competitions.
“It was like they were telling me to pack up and leave, said Dimas, who now lives and works in the US as a weightlifting adviser. “SYRIZA essentially sent me away. It was a political decision,” he said.