Top swimmers retire

Leading Greek swimmers Nery Mantey Niangkouara and Vassiliki Angelopoulou have announced their intention to quit the sport. The development comes as a setback to the national team’s slow but encouraging rise in international swimming in recent years. Niangkouara, a winner of two bronze medals in the women’s 100-meter freestyle at the European Championships, said she felt she had had enough. «Maybe I’m bored of it, maybe I don’t have the energy to continue, maybe I’m tired. Generally, I don’t want to swim anymore,» said Niangkouara, aged 24. The swimmer, who came sixth in the 2004 Olympics in Athens and holds national records in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle, and 50-meter butterfly, described her decision as irrevocable. Niangkouara took part in the Military World Games in India in September but her performances discouraged her from carrying on until next summer’s Beijing Olympics. Angelopoulou, who is still just 20 years old, cited a persisting back injury as the reason for her early retirement. The decision by the young swimmer, who competes for the Arion Glyfada club in southern Athens, apparently stunned her coach, Miltos Kannellopoulos. She came eighth in the 400-meter medley at the Athens Olympics and holds national records in the 200-meter butterfly, 200-meter medley, and 400-meter medley. Angelopoulou also won a gold and silver medals at the European Youth Championship in 2003.