Hard work pays off for Greek golden swimmers

TUNIS – The Greek swimming team’s impressive performance at the Mediterranean Games on Tuesday – which produced five medals, two gold, two silver, and a bronze – served as a reminder that the squad’s recent triumphs at other competitions were no fluke but the result of diligent work. Zoe Demoschaki, who won two gold medals at the recent European Junior Championships, took gold in the women’s 200-meter freestyle with a time of 2.02.09. So, too, did Greece’s 4×200-meter freestyle men’s relay team of Magganas, Xylouris, Economou and Gianniotis. It set a new national record of 7.23.33. Two Greek medals were won in the men’s 400-meter freestyle event, a silver by Spyros Gianniotis with a time of 3.53.90, and a bronze by Thanos Economou, who clocked 3.55.46. Katerina Bliamou won silver in the women’s 100-meter backstroke, setting a new national record of 1.03.89 along the way. In other events, two Greek wrestlers qualified in Greco-Roman wrestling finals, Christos Gikas in the 63-kilogram category, and C. Koutsioubas at 130 kilograms. Boxer Artur Mikaelian qualified for the final in the 54-kilogram category. Visiting teams, including the Greek squad, have had to persevere through unacceptable behavior by Tunisian fans. On his first attempt, weightlifter Leonidas Sambanis, who was up against Tunisia’s Tzarai in the snatch final of the 62.5 kilogram category, let go of his bar on his first attempt after lifting it slightly, as a result of jeers from local fans in the stands who also used whistles and drums. It deprived Sambanis of a lift that could have earned him the gold medal. Both Sambanis and Tzarai lifted 137.5 kilos, with the Tunisian winning because he weighed less. Sambanis won the clean-and-jerk, with 165 kilos. There were no medals given for overall performance. Later, Sambanis said the crowd’s behavior was unprecedented in his career. Officials, too, are believed to have joined in the racket.

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