SPORTS

Athens chosen to host world wrestlers

Athens will host the Greco-Roman Wrestling World Championships between December 6 and 9 following an almost unanimous decision by members of the International Wrestling Federation at its Lausanne headquarters yesterday. Of the 19 votes cast, all but one were in favor of Greece as the event’s host nation. The Freestyle Wrestling World Championships will be held in Sofia. We were given the competition with an overwhelming majority. The 18-1 vote says it all. I was moved when the [panel’s] American representative approached me and said he supported our bid, said Thodoris Hamakos, president of the sport’s national federation, and also the international body’s vice president. The event will be dedicated to the victims of the September 11 attacks, he added. At this stage, it seems high unlikely that one of Greece’s top wrestlers, Costas Thanos, the national champion in the 97-kilogram division, will be able to compete before a home crowd, as a result of injury. I’ll make every effort to recover, only because the event is being held in Greece, but my chances are minimal, Thanos said. Faced by a back injury, another team member, Christos Gikas (63 kg), a silver medalist at the recent Mediterranean Games in Tunis, is also struggling against time. I believe I’ll be ready by December. I’m waiting for results of tests, but I want to compete and think I’ll manage, he said. On the contrary, Dimitris Avramis (76 kg), who took a bronze medal at the Mediterranean Games two years ago, is in excellent shape. He will be joined be five other team members.