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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-08-16

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

August 16, 2004


  • [01] Public order minister blasts UK journalist's lax Olympic security claims
  • [02] Kenteris, Thanou to avoid IOC hearing; IAAF unsuccessfully sought pair in Chicago this month for doping test
  • [03] PASOK President visits Olympic Village
  • [04] Athens Mayor and German President attend event in honor of German students
  • [05] Prime Minister attends liturgy on Virgin Mary feast
  • [06] Media representatives get taste of Rhodes at Zappeion

  • [01] Public order minister blasts UK journalist's lax Olympic security claims

    Athens, 16/8/2004 (ANA)

    Greece's public order minister George Voulgarakis on Sunday advised a British newspaper journalist to "read fewer police fiction novels", adding that articles such as those appearing in today's edition of the Sunday Mirror tabloid were a "deep insult to journalism and the principles of objective and responsible reporting".

    Voulgarakis blasted the article, written by Bob Graham, and stressed that the security planning for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games was impeccable.

    The tabloid article claimed that Graham had managed to gain access to sport facilities before the Opening Ceremony at the OAKA main Olympic complex, and that he had planted three bogus bombs which were not detected by the security checks. It further alleges that Graham entered the Olympic Stadium at OAKA, venue of last Friday's Opening Ceremony, with passes in the names of "Robert bin Laden" and "Michael Mouse".

    "A detailed security sweep and lock-up took place at the OAKA, just like at all the Olympic installations. The sites are absolutely secure. The security measures and controls are fully underway and meet the most stringent international criteria, utilizing the international experience and technology to the fullest," Voulgarakis explained.

    "The reality itself of the Olympic Games comprises the best proof. It is others who must re-examine their ethics and actions," the minister concluded.

    [02] Kenteris, Thanou to avoid IOC hearing; IAAF unsuccessfully sought pair in Chicago this month for doping test

    Athens, 16/8/2004 (ANA)

    International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) officials on Sunday said besieged Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou were tested three and two times, respectively, in 2003, with only the former having recorded a 'no-show' over the past 18 months.

    The information came only a short time before a medical communique issued at an Athens hospital where the two are being treated -- following a mysterious accident late Thursday listed as a motorcycle crash - stated that the two Olympians will not be able to attend an IOC disciplinary commission meeting on Monday morning.

    Among others, the KAT Hospital communique said Thanou twice suffered from low blood sugar levels (on Aug. 14 and 14) along with various pulled muscles ostensibly suffered in the accident, with one injury listed as "an aggravation of a previous injury". Kenteris, among others, was reportedly suffering from headaches and dizziness due to head injuries.

    Earlier, IAAF President Lamine Diack said Kenteris' 'no-show' came in Tel-Aviv a month ago, while he added that "it was impossible to find Kenteris and Thanou in Chicago" on Aug. 10 and 11. He said the IOC had requested that IAAF, via WADA, conduct a doping test on the pair, to no avail.

    "We don't even want one athlete in the stadiums if they are facing a doping issue," Diack told reporters shortly after an IAAF council meeting at a downtown Athens hotel.

    Diack, nevertheless, went out of its way to stress "we have nothing to say about this (affair) until the IOC disciplinary commission convenes". The latter gave the two athletes, gold medalist Kenteris and silver medalist Thanou, a 48-hour extension on Friday to provide information on why they failed to show up for a doping test a day earlier. The two were sought out by IOC officials at the Athens "Olympic Village" only to be informed that they had departed to retrieve personal items.

    As far as a controversial incident in early 2003 when IAAF learned that Kenteris was training in Qatar instead of the large Greek island of Crete, as listed in a submitted whereabouts sheet, Diack said the IAAF requested that Kenteris' coach - Christos Tzekos -- be reprimanded.

    Both Diack and IAAF General Secretary Istvan Gyulai reiterated that the IAAF's new regulations stipulate three 'no-shows' for an athlete's suspension, whereas the IOC mandates two. However, Gyulai said no athlete has ever recorded three 'no-shows', while saying he did not know out-of-hand the 'no-show' figures on for doping tests since March 1 - when the new rules came into effect. "The system is working better than I expected," Hungary's Gyulai added.

    Gyulai also clarified that although Thursday's incident with the two Greek sprinters may not qualify as a no-show under IAAF's regulations, the same may not be true under the IOC's guidelines.

    When pressed, Diack nevertheless said Thursday's incident was 'basically a no-show.'

    Both men, as well as many of the IAAF delegates, reiterated that the IOC has jurisdiction over such matters as of July 30 and until the Games end.

    Conversely, IAAF's leadership said the Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS) has provided information on the whereabouts of its athletes after the former requested improved communication by Greek officials at the end of 2002. "There is good cooperation from the Greeks," Diack, a Senegalese national, said.

    "No matter what decision is taken by the IOC, we will take our own ... after Aug. 29," Greek IAAF delegate Minoas Kyriakou said upon exiting the hall where the council meeting was hosted.

    "The entire affair disgusts me," he added.

    Kenteris was tested and passed doping tests on Feb. 27, 2003; April 5, 2003 and Nov. 15, 2003. Thanou was tested and passed doping tests on Feb. 27, 2003 and Nov. 15, 2003, IAAF officials said.

    In a related matter, Diack said IAAF "doesn't expect anymore problems with the Americans. US Track and Field (federation) has handed everything over to USADA, who is now cooperating well with us. I don't think we'll have any more problems with doping in the US," Diack said.

    [03] PASOK President visits Olympic Village

    Athens, 16/8/2004 (ANA)

    The leader of the main opposition party PASOK George Papandreou had many words of praise and encouragement for the Greek athletes participating in the 2004 Olympic Games, when he visited the Olympic Village on Sunday.

    "We are here to express our support for our athletes and wish them every success. We are proud of them and I believe these Games will probably be the best ever. We must look to the future," Papandreou said.

    Papandreou attended Sunday's church service at the Olympic Village church, which serves all denominations, something he said sends a message of peace around the world.

    He said he would watch various games and sports and thanked the Olympic volunteers for their welcome and their contribution to the Games.

    Greek Olympic Committee president Ioannis Papadoyiannakis said athletes are trying to do their best and prove that Greece is a force to be reckoned with in sport as well as culture.

    [04] Athens Mayor and German President attend event in honor of German students

    Athens, 16/8/2004 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis along with German President Horst Kohler participated in an event organized by the German School of Athens, in honor of a group of students from Germany.

    The students, who are currently staying at the School camp that opened under the auspices of the Athens Municipality, will remain in the Greek capital for the duration of the Olympic Games, participating in events and watching various sports.

    In the context of the event, Bakoyannis welcomed the German students to Olympic Athens. Kohler expressed gratitude for Bakoyannis contribution to the students' stay in Greece.

    [05] Prime Minister attends liturgy on Virgin Mary feast

    Athens, 16/8/2004 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis attended liturgy on Sunday at the Penteli Monastery for the Greek Orthodox feast of the Virgin Mary, accompanied by his wife, Natasha.

    The Prime Minister was welcomed by the Monastery's abbot.

    Following the liturgy, Karamanlis and his wife exchanged wishes with the priests and churchgoers.

    [06] Media representatives get taste of Rhodes at Zappeion

    Athens, 16/8/2004 (ANA)

    Greek and foreign media representatives got a taste - literally, with local wines and dishes - of Rhodes on Sunday, in an event at Zappeion, at the initiative of the island's local authorities.

    Representatives of the South Rhodes municipality explained that the island is one of the best tourist destinations, with a moderate climate, sandy beaches stretching for 152 km, Byzantine castles and monasteries, as well as buildings in Italian architecture.

    They furthermore presented the island's plans to create luxury hotel units and at the same time maintain the sustainable development of the area.

    The South Rhodes municipality intends to create agrotourism establishments in selected villages; upgrade Prasonisi, which is one of the most popular destinations for surfers; create a Formula 1 specification track in a 3-square kilometer area; construct at least two golf courses and sports training centers; build an organized marina with a capacity of up to 120 vessels at Plimmyri beach, as well as a smaller marina for 50 vessels at Kiotari tourist hub; meet the increasing demand for holiday houses along the beach zone and within the developing traditional communities; and strategically choose and prioritize the biological production of agricultural products and foods.

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