SPORTS

Delayed start hits water polo clubs

The delayed start of this season’s national water polo league, implemented by the sport’s federation at the insistence of top-ranking club officials, seems to be having a detrimental effect on the performance of Greek teams that are competing in Europe. Benefiting from earlier starts and with more games behind them, foreign rivals have dominated play against their Greek opponents. Perhaps we could have qualified for the next round if we had more games behind us, said Ethnikos coach Ilias Maheras, whose team was eliminated from the LEN Trophy, a European club-level competition, far earlier than it had anticipated. Giorgos Mavrotas, captain of the Vouliagmeni club which has reached the quarter- finals of the Cup Winners Cup, shared the view. Of course, the fact that we hadn’t begun the [national] league had a negative impact. This year’s outcome should serve as a lesson for future years. We need to wait for our opponents in Europe, Mavrotas said. Theodoris Vlachos, the assistant coach at Olympiakos, whose team has advanced to the final eight of the Champions Cup, acknowledged that the sport’s federation was wrong in delaying this season’s start. Yes, the league’s postponement was a mistake, Vlachos said. Olympiakos international Giorgos Psychos bolstered the stance. We didn’t have games behind us, that’s why we didn’t have rhythm, Psychos said. A 6-5 victory over Spanish team Barcelonetta was enough to give Olympiakos its berth in the final eight despite losing 5-4 at home against Dynamo Moscow last weekend. The Greek team finished second in its group. One of the side’s better performers during these games, Yiannis Thomakos, noted that a quarter-final place had been his team’s main objective, adding that Olympiakos will be looking to improve its performance in the quarter finals. We achieved the minor objective. The major one was to capture [the group’s] top place, Thomakos said. Olympiakos must wait until Saturday to find its opponents in the final eight, which will be played in two groups of four teams each. Vouliagmeni earned its quarter-final berth in the Cup Winners Cup after registering victories against Ireland’s Guinness, 27-1, and Dynamo Bucharest, 8-5, and a 9-7 defeat against Barcelona in overtime. Competing in the LEN Trophy, Ethnikos fought hard but lost two of its three matches, 5-4 against German team Ham, and 7-5 against Croatia’s Primorje. It defeated Hungary’s Ferencvaros, 7-6. Panathinaikos, also competing in the LEN Trophy lost against all three opponents, Croatia’s Posk (6-5), Italian side Reko (9-5), and Partisan Belgrade (9-4). Fashion is a keynote of the play and young Greek designer Vasso Consola was an inspired choice for the costumes. Adept at crafting garments to suit individual women, Consola blends fashion and theatricality in her costumes for demure Marlene, brattish Karin, slinky Sidonie and flamboyant Petra. A highly recommended production.