Security high as 800 athletes arrive in Athens for World Karate Championships

Escalating international tension over security concerns will require Greek authorities to impose additional measures at the capital’s upcoming World Karate Championships, the first world championship sporting event to be staged – anywhere – since last month’s attacks in the USA. Some 800 athletes representing at least 62 countries, including numerous Arab and Muslim states, will be competing. The event begins this Friday. I consider our country to be a safe haven, and this will be proved, claimed the deputy transport minister, Alekos Voulgaris, also the president of the event’s organizing committee and, incidentally, a black belt in karate. Despite the spread of fear witnessed throughout the world, organizers said the event promises to attract a record number of athletes. Additional security measures will be taken, both inside and outside the stadium, by Greek police as well as a private security firm. As can be understood, no details can be announced, said Giorgos Gerolymbos, president of ELOK, the sport’s national federation. Arab athletes will get special treatment, he added. As for the competition, the Greek team’s trainers said that several local athletes would be in contention for medals. We have the best 18-21-year-olds. Our teenagers are a little less advanced, but we expect some medals, said national team coach Antonis Sadoukas. Today’s eight Champions League games were originally scheduled on Sept. 12, but were postponed after the terrorist attacks on the United States the previous day.

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