Greece adds three more medals to tally

Greece won three more medals yesterday, a gold, a silver and a bronze. Wrestler Artiom Kiouregian won bronze in the 55-kilogram category in Greco-Roman wrestling after narrowly missing a chance to reach the final. Fani Halkia won gold in the 400-meter hurdles and Nikos Kaklamanakis won silver in the windsurfing. In an early-morning round, Geidar Mamedaliev of Russia ended Kiouregian’s winning streak at three, by beating him 3-1 on points. Thus Kiouregian missed out on his chance to challenge for a gold medal but rebounded in the bronze medal match to beat Oleksiy Vakulenko of Ukraine 3-1 and win the prize. Other wrestlers did not fare as well. The best of them, Dimitris Avramis, earned fifth place with a fall over Egypt’s Mohamed Mohamed. At 60 kilograms, Christos Gikas began with a defeat by Turkey’s Sefenk Turef and followed it with two more, at the hands of Cuba’s Roberto Mozon and Iran’s Ali Ashkani. In the 74-kilo category, Alexis Kolitsopoulos defeated Vugar Aslanov of Azerbaijan, but was beaten by Tamas Berzicza of Hungary and Aleksandr Dokturishvili of Uzbekistan. In the 96-kilo category, Giorgos Koutsioumbas, a last-minute controversial replacement for Costas Thanos in the Greek squad, started with a win over Kazakhstan’s Asset Mambetov, lost his second match to Egypt’s Ibrahim Karam and won again against Marek Sitnik of Poland, but did not advance further. «I am satisfied because I won my final match in the tournament. I lost the qualification in the match against (Karam). It was really important for me to participate in the Olympic Games and I will try very hard to fight again for my country in four years’ time,» Koutsioumbas, brother of heavyweight wrestler Xenophon, told reporters. Greece twice clashed with the US yesterday and lost twice. In the men’s volleyball quarterfinal, despite massive support by the local crowd, the Greek team bowed out, losing 2-3 (20-25, 25-22, 27-25, 23-25, 15-17) in one of the most exciting games of the Olympic tournament. Neither side ever established a commanding lead, with the exception of the tie-break, when Greece raced ahead 8-1. In the women’s basketball quarterfinal, the Greeks were glad to have made it so far and, as guard Evanthia Maltsi said, «I faced the players I admire and that’s why I didn’t play my best game.» The Americans admitted that they feared that the home crowd would keep the Greek team in the game but that only happened early in the first quarter before the US pulled away for an eight-point lead (27-19) at the break. The undefeated Americans opened the game in the second quarter, taking a 55-34 lead into halftime. In the second half, they extended their lead to 35 points before settling for a 102-72 win. Guard Anastasia Kostaki, with 26 points, was the only consistent danger for the US defense. Substitute Shannon Johnson, with 21 points in 21 minutes of play, led the US in scoring. In track and field, javelin thrower Mirella Manjani confirmed she is not in the best shape by qualifying with a 61.04-meter throw, just 4 centimeters to spare. On the other hand, 34-year old Savva Lika threw 62.22 meters to qualify easily. Angeliki Tsiolakoudi, with 59.64 meters, failed to qualify. Another who did not advance past the first round was 800-meter runner Panayiotis Stroubakos. Veteran Christina Thalassinidou and her partner, Eleftheria Ftouli, came ninth in the duet final of synchronized swimming.

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