Federation Friday: Greece

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Federation Friday: Greece

May 6, 2016

Greek gymnastics getting ready for Vasilios Tsolakidis’s farewell show

The cream of the crop of Greek artistic gymnastics is getting ready for a performance like no other at the 2016 National Championships, which will be held this weekend in Thessaloniki (May 7th-8th) and is going to be really special, as it will mark the farewell of Vasilios Tsolakidis.

Vasilios Tsolakidis

The 37-year-old Parallel Bars specialist, who was 6th at the 2012 Olympic Games and has also won three medals in European Championships (gold in Patras 2002, silver in Birmingham 2010, bronze in Berlin 2011), plus the silver medal at the 2011 Worlds in Tokyo, will perform for the last time, in the gym which has been his second home for the last 20 years:

The “Ioannis Melissanidis” Hall of Mikra National Gymnasium was fully upgraded last February, thanks to the installation of a brand-new set of apparatuses, which makes it one of the best artistic gymnastics training centers in Europe, given the fact that all apparatuses have been fixed on a wooden podium, on a permanent basis.

The first major artistic gymnastics competition in the renovated “Ioannis Melissanidis” Hall will be the forthcoming Men’s & Women’s National Championships (Seniors & Juniors), with a total participation of 95 gymnasts who either are selected members of the national teams or made it through the preliminary phase.

For the best of them, this event will shall mark the countdown ahead of the 2016 European Championships of Bern, and will serve as an important test, especially for the less experienced Junior gymnasts.

Curiously enough, Vasilios Tsolakidis’s 16-year-old nephew, Stefanos, is also to compete along in Thessaloniki, just weeks ahead of his participation at the Junior Men’s European Championships: One Tsolakidis bids farewell, another one comes on stage hoping to follow the family’s legacy...

Moreover, stars such as Still Rings world title holder Eleftherios Petrounias and five-time High Bar European champion Vlasios Maras, who have both secured a spot for the Rio Olympic Games, are expected to shine in the event, in Men’s category. Meanwhile, Nikolaos Iliopoulos will be the one to beat in the All-Around competition, as he has been a three-time winner overall, including the 2014 and 2015 editions.

Eleftherios Petrounias

The Women’s category is equally promising, thanks to the presence of expert Vasiliki Millousi, who excelled at the recent Aquece Rio Pre-Olympic tournament, up-and-coming Argyro Afrati, who also did well at the Rio test event, and All-Around Greek national title holder Ioanna Xoulogi.

Vasiliki Millousi

The 2016 Artistic Gymnastics National Championships will start on Saturday (May 7th) with Competition I, which will determine the All-Around winners and the apparatus finalists in all age categories (Senior Women: 11:00-13:00, Junior Women: 14:00-16:00, Senior & Junior Men: 17:00-20:00, all times local). The tournament will conclude on Sunday (May 8th) with the apparatus finals, in all four categories (11:30-14:30 local time).

 

Text: Hellenic Gymnastics Federation