Greece to fight for another day
Greece’s basketball team came uncomfortably close to elimination from the European championships last night, before defeating Bosnia 101-77 at Antalya, Turkey. Just before the end of the first half the Bosnians were leading by nine points (43-34) and were up by five (44-39) at halftime. However, the Greeks used a blistering third period to build a 72-54 lead and avoid a repeat of their humiliating exit in the previous Championships, in 1999. Greece will now face Germany in a do-or-die match that will see the winner through to the quarterfinals. Germany lost 86-73 to Yugoslavia yesterday to finish second in its group. Greece finished equal on points with Italy and Russia in its group, but ended in third place because of Saturday’s 106-81 defeat to Russia. The Italians, who lost to Greece by a single point on Friday, defeated the Russians 64-58 yesterday to clinch second place. Greece could never match Russia’s fast rhythm, inside domination and excellent marksmanship and fell behind early. The Russians scored 37 periods in the first quarter and, in contrast to previous years, failed to self-destruct. According to Kokkalis, the new sports complex will include – in addition to the soccer stadium – an indoor gymnasium and open-air swimming pool. The club’s original plan had entailed the refurbishment of the Karaiskaki Stadium in Faliron, which had served as Olympiakos’s home ground until the club moved to the Olympic Stadium several seasons ago. But talks between the Karaiskaki stadium’s owner, the Olympic Games Committee (EOA), and the club’s administration fell through. According to reports, the committee failed to accept Olympiakos’s offer for a 30-year lease. But despite the ministry’s approval of Olympiakos’s construction plan for the Aghios Ioannis Rentis district, reliable sources told Kathimerini that the refurbishment plan for the Karaiskaki stadium had not yet been shelved. The club’s search for a permanent home is highlighted by the imminent closure of the capital’s Olympic Stadium, by next summer at the latest, for renovation work ahead of the 2004 Olympic Games.