SPORTS

Atlanta 1996 champion is still riding the waves

The relative quiet in Greek windsurfer Nikos Kaklamanakis’s career since his gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 has prompted numerous pundits to pronounce the athlete a has-been. But a silver medal at the current World Championships in Spain, in the Mistral class, should serve as a solid reminder that the 35-year-old athlete remains a considerable force on the international circuit. It is highly likely that Kaklamanakis, who has avoided making ambitious public statements, is aiming for next summer’s Olympic Games in Athens. «I’ll continue in the way I know, which is to work hard and, above all, effectively. Time will tell. I believe that all will go well If I manage to work the way I intend to. I went through difficult moments at the start of the competition. My ranking was low,» said Kaklamanakis who went into the competition ranked 15th. «That’s why this medal brings with it great satisfaction. It was an important distinction for Greece. I was well prepared and just waited. It’s a good sign a year before the Olympics,» he added. In unofficial competition last month, Kalamanakis ended in first place in the Athens Regatta, one of several Olympic test events held during August. In the women’s 470 – double-handed dinghy event, still in progress, the Greek pair of Sofia Bekatorou and Emilia Tsoulfa had ranked third ahead of the competition, lead the field and seem set to clinch their fourth world title. Bekatorou and Tsoulfa are now comfortably placed first with nine penalty points. They are trailed by the Dutch pair of Lisa Westerhof and Margriet Matthijsse, a surprise package that went into these Worlds ranked 36th, with 31 penalty points. In the men’s 470 – double-handed dinghy, the medal battle is a tight one. Greece’s Andreas Kosmatopoulos and Costas Trigonis, ranked first, are currently placed sixth with 35 penalty points, but the gap that separates them from the crews above them is narrow. Spaniards Gustavo Martinez Doreste and Dimas Wood, for instance, currently placed second, have accumulated a mere four penalty points less than the Greek pair.