SPORTS

Teen gymnast strikes gold

Lefteris Kosmidis is the new world champion in the men’s floor exercise, after somersaulting his way to the gold medal at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Rotterdam on Saturday afternoon. The Greek gymnast had qualified first to the final and predictably swept the floor on Saturday for Greece’s sole medal in this championship. He had another great day and collected 15,700 points to secure the top spot on the podium. Japan’s Kohei Uchimura came second with 15,533 points. For the 19-year-old Kosmidis it was his first-ever medal in a World Championship and the seventh for Greece. It was also the first-ever Greek gold in the floor exercise in the sport’s top competition, given that legendary Ioannis Melissanidis had only managed to win silver. «I am yet to realize what I have achieved. There are moments I shiver with enthusiasm, but it has not yet sunk in that I am a world champion. I could hardly believe it when I qualified to the final with the best score,» he admitted. «I have had the joy of other medal ceremonies, too, but this compares to no other. When I heard the national anthem I almost cried, I could hardly contain myself. It was unique,» he said. «I want to dedicate this medal to all Greeks. In the difficult financial situation they are going through, I hope that this can give them some strength and joy,» the teenager stated, after also dedicating the win to his coach, Giorgos Angelou, and all his teammates in the national squad. Kosmidis therefore avenged the bad luck suffered by injured Vlassis Maras and ailing Vassilis Tsolakidis, who could not reach the finals for the horizontal bar and the parallel bars respectively. The Greek squad returns to Athens today.