National basketball team on Olympic trail The national basketball team is gathering this morning ahead of the pre-Olympic tournament to take place in Athens on July 14-20. National coach Panayiotis Yiannakis may not have Michalis Kakiouzis, Lazaros Papadopoulos, Nikos Hatzivrettas and Dimos Dikoudis at his disposal, but he will be able to enjoy the services of his center at Olympiakos, Sofoklis Schortsanitis. In the tournament to take place at the Olympic Sports Complex, Greece is in the same group as Brazil and Lebanon. Olympiakos eyes Papadopoulos, Kyrgiakos Olympiakos is reported to be preparing an improved bid for Aris soccer star Avraam Papadopoulos, following the failure of its effort to land PAOK’s Lazaros Christodoulopoulos. Papadopoulos has not agreed yet on the extension of his contract with Aris, with talks resuming today, and Olympiakos needs to sign a central defender. Greek international Sotiris Kyrgiakos is another option the champions and cup-winners are considering for strengthening their back line. Baseball Greek champion Spartakos Glyfadas returned from Bulgaria with the fifth place from their European Champions Cup qualifier group. Playing in Pool 3, the Greeks registered just one win in five games in Blagoevgrad, beating Slovakia’s BK Apollon 14-13. They lost to hosts Blagoevgrad Buffaloes 18-0, Austria’s Homerunners 11-0, Romania’s Dinamo 20-0 and Serbia’s Beograd 96 19-3. Boxing gold For the second year in a row, Greek boxing champion Ilias Pavlidis won gold in the European Union Championship in the heavyweight (91-kilogram) category in Poland. Pavlidis, who has also secured his participation in the Olympic Games, defeated Ireland’s Con Sheehan 14:9. Water polo The second string of Greece’s national water polo squad ended up eighth in the World League finals after losing 11-7 to hosts Italy on Sunday. On Saturday they had lost to Spain 10-11 in the penalty shootout.