Track and field teams make top leagues

It was a fruitful weekend for the national track and field team, with the men’s and women’s divisions both earning promotion to their respective top-level leagues in continental team competition, the European Cup’s Super League, following a series of impressive results during a two-day meeting in Thessaloniki. The meeting’s other highlight for Greek interests was a new national record in the men’s triple jump, set yesterday by Dimitris Tsiamis, who registered a 17.55-meter performance. It ranks as the best performance in Europe this year, and third best in the world. The previous Greek record had been set by Costas Zalagitis, just under four years ago, with a 17.43-meter leap. «I didn’t expect it. I wanted to make the grade for the European Championships,» said Tsiamis, refering to the upcoming European Athletics Championships to be held in Gothenburg between August 6 and 13. In a tight battle for top spot and promotion to the Super League, the Greek men’s team ended first in its group, accumulating 121 points, ahead of the Netherlands and Portugal, which shared second place with 100 points apiece. Also competing were Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia and Turkey. In the women’s eight-team competition, Greece captured top spot with 136 points. Bulgaria ended second with 109 points, followed by the Dutch team on 100 points. The men’s team had to wait until the very final event last night before being assured of a promotion to the Super League with a win in the 4X400 meter relay in 3:05.35 minutes. Earlier in the day, Stavros Kouroupakis won the pole vault with a 5.51-meter performance, his career’s best ever, despite unfavorable wind conditions. In the javelin, Giorgos Iltsios won the men’s event thanks to a 78.52-meter throw on his third attempt. Attendance figures for the two-day event at Thessaloniki’s Kaftantzogleio Stadium were subdued. However, a group of disgruntled supporters of the PAOK soccer team turned up, using the track and field event as a platform to express their frustrations with European soccer’s governing body for excluding the team from UEFA Cup competition in the new season. No incidents were reported.

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