SPORTS

Skiing officials say it is time for a professional approach

St Moritz – Responding to the national team’s encouraging results at the World Alpine Skiing Championships in St Moritz, which exceeded the expectations of a team without a winter sports tradition and still hovering at amateur-level operations, Greek officials have begun to find reason for a more professional approach. «We’ve now got to look toward the future. The youngsters need to participate in big events to improve their rankings, and this is what we will try to offer so that they can be in a stronger position for the next World Championships, as well as for the Winter Olympics in 2006,» noted Yiannis Pantelidis, president of the Greek Skiing Federation. «They’ve improved their rankings, but if you’re not among the top 30 you don’t stand a chance of achieving something that could be considered as a major success,» he added. Vassilis Dimitriadis surprised himself, officials, and the international skiing community by capturing 41st as a final place in the slalom event among 120 competitors. Dimitriadis had ended 39th in the giant slalom just days earlier, though he went to the World Championships ranked 74th. Teammate Costas Starkas ended 47th in the slalom. Though these results are admittedly modest, they are encouraging considering the sport’s lack of professionalism in Greece. Commenting on his performance in the slalom, Dimitriadis expressed dissatisfaction while noting that he could have registered a higher final placing. «I was sure that I would have performed better than I already had in the giant slalom. Unfortunately, I didn’t avoid mistakes which cost me a lot of places in the final standings,» Dimitriadis said. «But, generally speaking, I’m content with my performance and believe that I can reach higher in major competition,» he added. Likewise, the national team’s Bosnian-Serb coach Alexander Miskovic said he was happy with the team’s achievements at St Moritz. «We achieved our aims, Miskovic noted, while adding that «the youngsters could have registered better results but the overall appraisal is a good one.»