SPORTS

The titans will not clash, after all, at the upcoming Vancouver Worlds

Greek triple Olympic medalists Pyrros Dimas and Kakhi Kakiashvili, who were expected to clash, for the first time, at next month’s World Championships in Vancouver, will not meet head-on after all, the national weightlifting team’s head coach, Christos Iakovou said yesterday. Kakiashvili, who lifts in the 94-kilogram division, has opted out of the competition because of a muscle strain to his right thigh. Until now, his teammate Dimas had competed in the 85-kilogram category, but recent weight gain has forced him to step up to Kakiashvili’s 94-kilo division for the Vancouver Worlds. Dimas, who is reportedly in excellent condition and ready to compete for the first time in three years, intends to slim down to 85 kilos for next summer’s Athens Olympics. Iakovou, the national team’s coach, decided to exclude Kakiashvili from its ranks yesterday after X-rays confirmed the nature of his muscle strain. Kakiashvili’s injury is expected to keep him sidelined for close to three weeks. Beyond that, Kakiashvili intends to take part in December’s weightlifting test event at the sport’s new Olympic facility, if he registers satisfactory lifts by competition time. «Misfortune has struck once again. What can we do? We could not do otherwise,» Iakovou said. Defending world champion Anastasia Tsakiri has also withdrawn from the Vancouver event due to injury, team officials said. «I really wanted to take part in the World Championships but it won’t happen. I’d managed to return to ideal form. I was in better shape than I was for last year’s Europeans in Loutraki [west of Athens],» said Tsakiri. «Now, I’ll just take this period as an opportunity for rest, even though I will feel quite bad watching it all on TV as the others battle. I think that Vancouver, too, won’t be without Greek triumphs, especially Christina Ioannidi, who is in very fine shape.»