Struggling strongmen won’t lift at the Worlds

Two weightlifters have been withdrawn from the Greek national team in Vancouver, Canada, for the Worlds due to poor form, said squad coach Christos Iakovou. Giorgos Tzelilis (69 kilograms), a silver medalist at world-championship level, and teammate Leonidas Sabanis (62 kg), a two-time Olympic silver medalist, both in Vancouver, were barred from competition at the last minute. Iakovou said the move was made to protect the morale of the aging athletes who hope to end their careers on high notes at the Athens Olympics. Lifts during training by both Tzelilis and Sabanis were poor, Iakovou said. «Sambanis and Tzelilis aren’t kids, and you just can’t say ‘It doesn’t matter’ after a failure,» said Iakovou. «If either of them ended 10th or 11th here, how was I to convince them that they can lift for a medal in Athens next summer?»