|Monday, 18 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-08-17
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 17, 2004
 Greece wins its first gold medal
Athens, 17/8/2004 (ANA)Host nation Greece won its first gold medal of the Athens Olympics on Monday when Nikolaos Siranidis and Thomas Bimis won the men's three-meter synchronized diving.
The Greek duo were lying fourth going into the final round when leaders Bo Peng and Kenan Wang from China failed to execute their final dive properly and the judges declared a no-dive, awarding no points.
American duo Justin and Troy Dumais, second after the penultimate fourth round, also failed to shine and the Greeks pulled off an excellent dive to move ahead of Australians Robert Newberry and Steven Barnett who ended up third. A good final effort from Andreas Wels and Tobias Schellenberg of Germany gave them the silver. The crowd at the indoor pool erupted and the home divers danced around the pool to traditional Greek music played over the public address system after their shock win.
Greece wins bronze medal in weightlifting: Greece's Leonidas Sarbanis celebrates shortly after his successful lift that won him the bronze medal in the Men's 62kg weightlifting competition of the 2004 Olympic Games, at the Nikaia Olympic Weightlifting Hall in Athens, Monday.
Zhiyong Shi of China was the gold medal winner lifting a total of 325.0 kilos. Maosheng Le, also from China, came second with a total of 312.5 kilos.
Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis congratulated Sampanis.
"Leonidas Sampanis, with his new Olympic success, has made the Greeks proud. He is worthy of congratulations from all of us on his huge effort and the brave battle he has fought," a message from Karamanlis said.
President of the main opposition PASOK party George Papandreou also congratulated Sampanis.
 Karamanlis receives US Olympic Medalist Carl Lewis, who is satisfied with 2004 Olympics
Athens, 17/8/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis received on Monday US Olympic medalist Carl Lewis, who expressed satisfaction with the organizing of the Athens 2004 Olympic Summer Games.
Replying to questions about doping issues, Lewis said the Olympic movement had the ability to strengthen itself and would.
 Kenteris, Thanou to appear before IOC Commission Wednesday
Athens, 17/8/2004 (ANA)Greek athletes Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, both Olympic medalists, are to appear on Wednesday morning before an IOC (International Olympic Committee) Disciplinary Commission, in connection with an investigation it is carrying out into the nature and the circumstances of alleged anti-doping rule violations, said to have been committed by two sprinters.
The two athletes failed to be available to give a sample for testing on Thursday evening and later that night they were involved in a motorcycle accident and have since been receiving medical treatment in KAT state hospital. A medical bulletin on Monday said they are expected to be discharged on Tuesday, provided their condition continues to improve.
Kenteris and Thanou did not appear before the Commission on Monday morning as scheduled because of their medical condition. Their lawyer said both will be present at Wednesday's hearing.
After the hearing, the three-member Disciplinary Commission will be responsible for presenting a report and recommendations to the IOC Executive Board, the body which has the authority to take a decision on such cases.
The Commission's legal adviser Francois Garard said that the investigation does not concern itself with the use or non use of prohibited substances by the athletes but it relates to the fact that they were not available when invited to give a sample to be tested.
He explained that the IOC is interested in any rules violation between 30 July to date.
Greek police visited on Monday the two athletes in hospital and took a statement from each one of them. No details of their depositions have been disclosed.
A medical examiner also visited Kenteris and Thanou on Monday and examined them in order to prepare his report to Demetris Papagelopoulos, Public Prosecutor, on Tuesday.
In an interview with the Greek sports daily Goal published Monday, Kenteris said he had not been informed by anyone that the IOC was looking for him to take an anti-doping test.
Communist party says present government and previous ones did nothing to check doping phenomenon: Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Central Committee member Gerasimos Aravanis, in a statement on Monday on the issue of doping, accused the government of doing nothing to check the phenomenon.
"The political responsibilities arising for the present government and the previous ones are great. They cannot pretend to be Pontius Pilate. Ever since the undertaking of the Olympic Games in particular, in essence they did nothing to check the phenomenon. On the contrary, it took on gigantic proportions over this period," he said.
"Unfortunately, the storm of revelations in past months on doping in the US, Europe and our country is only the tip of the iceberg.
"In commercialized sport forbidden substances are a rule. Its cause is the need of the industry of entertainment for new records, higher performances and a more attractive spectacle to attract more spectators," he added.
Aravanis pointed out that ''confronting the phenomenon can neither take place with checks nor with big words, but by cutting the umbilical cord of sponsors and multinationals with sport and athletes.''
Coalition of the Left calls for an end to Kenteris-Thanou incident
The sports section of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology said "the mockery of sporting public opinion continues and casts a heavy shadow on the Olympic Games."
"This abscess has to be cured now or it will poison Greek sport for ever," the party said after Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, Greek sprinters, are under investigation for alleged violation of IOC rules for failing to be available for a drug test.
The sports authorities, after their decision to allow the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to defend the reputation of Greek sport, proves that it has not risen to the occasion with regard to handling this issue.
The two athletes are recovering in hospital and will appear on Wednesday before an IOC Disciplinary Commission to give their side of the story.
 Athens organizers pleased with ticket sales so far
Athens, 17/8/2004 (ANA)Athens organizers (ATHOC) appeared confident on Monday that overall ticket sales will easily exceed the three-million mark -- the initial target for the 2004 Games -- with the current total standing at 2.92 million.
During their regular morning briefing at the main press centre, ATHOC officials said 45,000 tickets were sold on Sunday, the previous day. They also noted that the basketball, water polo, volleyball and beach volleyball events were sold out, while venues hosting the handball, field hockey, swimming, equestrian, shooting and tennis events recorded ticket sales of between 81 and 99 percent.
The overall ticket sales totals for Barcelona in 1992 and Seoul in 1988 -- comparable Games to Athens 2004 -- were 3.021 million and 2.7 million, respectively.
 Philatelic exhibition - OLYMPHILEX 2004 - opens
Athens, 17/8/2004 (ANA)A philatelic exhibition, entitled OLYMPHILEX 2004, opened on Monday in Athens, host city of the 2004 Olympic Games, with about thirty countries, including Greece, presenting their collections of stamps and coins with scenes from Olympic Games.
Minister of Transport and Communications Mihalis Liapis inaugurated the exhibition in the presence of IOC (International Olympic Committee) president Jacques Rogge and his predecessor Juan Antonio Samaranch, who is a philatelist.
Liapis said the Greek postal system was a pioneer in that it issued the first series of Olympic stamps worldwide in 1896, when the ancient Olympic Games were revived in Athens.
The Greek post had been issuing unique Olympic stamps since 2000, ahead of the Games, that depict the history of the modern Olympics. By the end of the 2004 Games, 18 series of stamps will have been issued with scenes from the opening and closing ceremonies and with Greek Olympic medalists.
Rogge said Greece gave birth to the Olympic Games but also to Olympic Philately and expressed gratitude to Greece for staging the Games, saying that he had put his trust in Greece that it would make it and it did.
 Probe underway into fire blamed on Athens 2004 chief's fireworks display
Athens, 17/8/2004 (ANA)An Athens public prosecutor on Monday ordered a preliminary inquiry into the causes of a fire that broke out in the Tourkovounia woods in Athens on Saturday, which according to the fire department's was ignited by fireworks launched during a reception given by the head of the Athens 2004 Olympics Organizing Committee Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki at her home in Psychico to celebrate the start of the Olympics.
The fire department's report was handed over to the public prosecutor on Monday, along with a suit against unknown parties filed by the Mayor of Filothei over the fire.
The case has been assigned to first-instance public prosecutor Spyros Mouzakitis, who has been asked to investigate whether all legal procedures and safety precautions were taken during the firework display.
 Athens Mayor hosts visiting foreign mayors
Athens, 17/8/2004 (ANA)Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis hosted a dinner on Sunday night to honor mayors from major cities around the world, currently in Athens to watch the opening ceremony and the first days of the Olympic Games on the official invitation by the Municipality of Athens.
The dinner table included the Lord Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, the mayor of Barcelona Joan Clos I Matheu, the mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni, the mayor of Lisbon Antonio Cormona Rodrigues, the mayor of Dublin Michael Conaghan, the mayor of Prague Mudr Pavel Bem and the mayor of Valetta Paul Borg Olivier.
Speaking to reporters, Mrs Bakoyannis said: "Tonight we welcome the first group of mayors invited by the Municipality of Athens for the Olympic Games. I have to tell you that they are all excited with the opening ceremony of the Games and the sport events of the weekend and of course they find our Athens wonderful."
The Athens Mayor stressed that some of the visiting officials were surprised by the changes made in the city during the last couple of years.
 Danish sailing athlete faces manslaughter charge for running over British tourist
Athens, 17/8/2004 (ANA)A 23-year-old Danish athlete competing in the sailing events of the Athens Olympic Games was charged with manslaughter through negligence and violating traffic rules by an Athens public prosecutor on Monday after he allegedly ran over and killed a British tourist on Sunday night.
Nicklas-David Holm is accused of running down 45-year-old Briton Errol Anthony Ftrachn at 21:00 on Sunday night while driving an accredited vehicle in the 'Olympic' lane reserved for Olympics participants on Poseidonos Avenue near Alimos, on the southeast coast of Athens.
According to initial reports, a blood alcohol test done on Holm was negative.
Holm is scheduled to compete for Denmark in the men's Keelboat Star races, an event with a two-person crew. The public prosecutor has ordered that he be released to continue training for his event and has instructed the traffic police to conduct an inquiry into how the accident occurred and to submit a report along with the results of the autopsy and blood alcohol tests on the athlete.
 Greek FinMin inaugurates innovative products fair
Athens, 17/8/2004 (ANA)Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Monday inaugurated a trade fair of Greek innovative products, held in framework of activities by the Athens Business Club 2004.
In his inauguration speech, Mr Alogoskoufis stressed that there were Greek businesses known for their innovative products in bio-technology, information, telecommunications, environment technologies, pharmaceuticals and precision machinery production.
The Greek minister urged participants to show to foreign businessmen, currently in Greece, that the country owned the necessary infrastructure to help attract successful investments, along with the necessary know-how and a very well trained workforce.
A total of 40 businesses and universities are exhibiting their innovative products in information, robotics, telecommunications, micro-electronics, medical technology, industrial applications, energy and constructions.
Alogoskoufis said that Greeks owned both imagination and ingenuity, that if were free to create, could deliver miracles. "This imagination and ingenuity of Greeks this fair is trying to promote," he stressed.
The Greek minister said that foreign visitors would have to return home speaking of an advanced Greece with infrastructure equal to that of more advanced countries. "We have to show that Greece is a top destination for foreign investments and tourism," he added.
 Greek Development Minister discusses industry and trade with Swedish Minister
Athens, 17/8/2004 (ANA)Greek Minister for Development Demetris Sioufas met on Monday with Swedish Minister for Industry and Trade Leif Pagrotsky, with whom he discussed matters of mutual interest in the sectors of industry and trade, and exchanged views on how to enhance cooperation to the benefit of both countries' economies.
The meeting was attended by Sweden's Ambassador in Athens Martin Grunditz and Greek ministry officials.
Sioufas presented the Swedish Minister with a replica of the Disc of Phaistos, an archaeological find from Knossos, Crete, most likely dating from about 1700 BC. It is considered to be one of the mysteries of archaeology, as its purpose and meaning, and even its original geographical place of manufacture remain unknown.
 Telecom chief asks bourse players for grace period
Athens, 17/8/2004 (ANA)The new chairman and managing director of Athens-quoted OTE telecom, Panayis Vourloumis, on Monday asked investors abroad who are thinking of returning to the Greek market to allow the company a grace period of several months until the government launches its privatization program.
"Wait and see what will happen to OTE in coming months. The situation has matured and what is needed is a certain amount of daring and resoluteness," Vourloumis told a meeting of the Athens Business Club 2004, created to help boost entrepreneurial contacts during the Athens 2004 Olympics.
He also called on the government to open the way for an overhaul within state-run OTE, which is also quoted in London and New York, through legal changes.
OTE, whose turnover represents about 3.0 percent of gross domestic product, was "ailing" along with the country's other state-run corporations; and its consolidated earnings were declining sharply, said Vourloumis, who took over at the company's helm three months ago, in the wake of national elections on March 7.
 Stocks drop in thin trade
Athens, 17/8/2004 (ANA)Stocks finished lower in thin, lackluster trade with sellers outstripping buyers across the board, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 2,245.53 points, showing a decline of 0.43 percent. Turnover was 78.0 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.31 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 1.19 percent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 1.28 percent down.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 236 to 39 with 56 remaining unchanged.