It is a most daunting task to have to come into your first game of the season, when your feet are still heavy from all the exercises and your body still isn’t used to the daily routine of a footballer, and face last season’s Champions League semi-finalists. And yet, Greek Champions PAOK performed admirably in their task against Ajax, claiming a 2-2 draw. Of course, we’re still referring to last week’s game that was held at Toumba, where the “two-headed eagles of the North” made the Dutch giants look like a neighbourhood team, especially during the closing minutes of the first half when they dominated the game and scored two goals, missing many opportunities to score a third. Both Olympiacos and AEK did just as well last week as they claimed away wins against Basaksehir and Craiova respectively, but the name of PAOK’s opponent gives their achievement an extra point of difficulty.
Last season’s Greek Super League top scorer was able to secure himself a transfer to one of the top leagues in Europe (France’s Ligue One) and already he’s making his name heard. The 23-year-old managed to score the late equaliser in his team Toulouse’s inaugural game of the season against Brest, securing them the single point. Hopefully this will be just the start of another great season for the young striker.
The young skipper was able to win the silver medal in the RSX category during the recent youth World Sailing Championships that were held in Sankt Petersburg of Russia. This success only serves to further enhance Greece’s position as one of the top nations in the sport, as the 16-year-old managed to secure 132 points in his 10 races, coming out 2nd in a total of 12 participants. The Hellenic Sailing Federation has given significant funds and manpower to the development of young athletes and this victory comes as confirmation of their efforts.
The latter team from Thessaloniki to be playing in the European qualifiers this season left its fans completely let down last week. Showing good signs in their first two games against AE Limassol, not even the most pessimistic of their followers could have predicted the disappointment that was to follow in Norway against Molde. A completely unorganised defence lead to their complete annihilation by the Norwegians and now the team in yellow needs to score four goals if they hope to advance to the next round, as three will only lead them to extra time and won’t be sufficient.
FIBA WORLD CUP
When so many players begin walking away from their national teams, it’s the World Cup that suffers. So many top athletes have chosen to give priority to the NBA, putting the representation of their nation to the side as something inconsequential, proving beyond a shred of a doubt that when it comes to the game, money’s the only thing that matters. And yet, throughout all this disappointment there is one athlete that continues to give his all for his nation and feel pride whenever he wears the jersey, putting all others to shame. That man’s name is Giannis Antetokounmpo and he was last season’s Most Valuable Player.
GREEK INDIVIDUAL ATHLETICS TEAM
Despite their best efforts at the European Championship in Poland, the Greek team was unable to avoid relegation from the Super League to the First Category of individual athletics. The Greeks did what they could, considering their absences, but in the end it just wasn’t enough. Athletes such as Katerina Stefanidi, Voula Papachristou and Miltos Tentoglou did well individually, coming out first in their individual sports, however the points they gathered were only sufficient to give their team the 10th place out of a total of 12 participating nations. Despite the category their nation is in however, it remains certain that Greeks will continue to collect the medals, as they remain one of the traditional forces in many individual sports.