Greek wrestlers have potential

In his first public remarks on his judgment of domestic Greco-Roman wrestling standards, the national team’s newly appointed coach Kamandar Madjidov noted that numerous Greek athletes possessed technique but lacked the required amount of strength and endurance. The Belorussian, an Olympic winner himself in 1988, who also coached his country’s national team to one bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics and steered two other team members to fourth and seventh places respectively, contended that Greece currently possessed greater depth than his former side. Greece’s best effort in the Greco-Roman wrestling events at the Sydney Olympics was a fourth placing. «The athletes will be ready for the 2004 Athens Olympics, if they work hard,» Madjidov told reporters. «The results will start surfacing early in 2004,» he added. Madjidov said that, besides the national team’s more established members, he had spotted younger, unknown athletes with serious potential. But he declined to name them. Commenting on the pros and cons of domestic Greco-Roman competition, Madjidov said a considerable number of athletes were worthy and fueled with spirited determination. But he condemned an overall lack of sportsmanship. «All that goes on with the referees, and the continual protests by many is a negative point,» Madjidov remarked. Responding to a question regarding the early departures of two failed predecessors, both from the former Soviet Union, and whether this implied that a cultural conflict existed between ex-Soviet trainers and Greek athletes, Madjidov said he believed that, ultimately, the work of the individual coach counted most. «That’s a good question. But I think what counts most, in the end, is the coach,» Madjidov said. «Cooperation and good communication with the athletes is needed. Above all, discipline is the most important aspect in sports.»

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