Solid showing at world indoors

Just months ahead of the Athens Olympics, the national track and field team performed solidly at the world indoors in Budapest over the weekend to collect two bronze medals. The team’s less blatant successes included three other finals appearances, four national records, as well as promising performances. Sprinter Giorgos Theodoridis won bronze in the men’s 60 meters with a time of 6.54 seconds, and Chrysopigi Devetzi also won bronze in the women’s triple jump with a 14.73-meter performance. «I’m touched. It was a tough event loaded with plenty of anxiety. I strove for a good performance, and, when I registered a 14.73-meter jump, I believed in success, too,» said Devetzi following her bronze medal in the triple jump. «I expect my lead-up to the Olympics to continue without any problems, and, to be – why not – on the top pedestal in Athens,» she added. Theodoridis, the squad’s other bronze medalist, said recent good form prompted him to run at the world indoors, even though the initial plan was to focus exclusively on the upcoming Olympics. «We were interested only in the Olympics. But when we realized that I was in good shape, we decided that I would also run at the [world] indoors,» Theodoridis said. «I’d registered good times and went to Budapest without the aim of winning a medal, but to run well and enjoy myself. In the end, I won a medal, so I’m thoroughly pleased. Now, I’ll start my Olympic preparations,» he added. The bronze medals came as Greece’s first ever in the competition’s history. Until now, the team had accumulated a total of three gold and two silver medals. Competing in the women’s 400 meters, Fani Halkia ended sixth in the final. On her way to the final, she broke two national records with times of 51.77 seconds and 51.68 seconds. «I fought as hard as I could. I’m happy about my performance and hopeful for the future,» said Halkia after ending sixth in the women’s 400-meter event. «The 400 meters is part of my preparation for the 400 meters hurdles next summer,» she added. Flora Rentoumi, who ended seventh in the women’s 60-meter hurdles, also broke the national record in her semifinal heat, running a time of 7.91 seconds. «Generally speaking, I’m satisfied with my performance in the competition. I was put off slightly by the false start in the final. I could’ve done better,» Rentoumi said. The women’s 4×400 meter relay team, comprising Eleftheria Papadopoulou, Chrysoula Goudenoudi, Georgia Koumnaki, and Halkia, ended sixth in the event’s final. In the men’s triple jump, Christos Meletoglou, who set a new national record with a 16.79-meter jump in the qualifying round, narrowly missed reaching the final and settled for ninth place. Odysseas Papatolis, the national squad’s coach, who expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance, said the European Cup, on June 19 and 20, would be the team’s next challenge ahead of the Athens Olympics.

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