Gionis: “It takes persistence and soul to go to six Olympic Games”


With the ticket for his sixth participation in the Olympic Games, he returned early Sunday morning to Athens Panagiotis Gionis from Sarajevo. Despite the late hour, more than 15 people were at “Eleftherios Venizelos” and gave a warm welcome to the 44-year-old table tennis champion and his fellow travelers on this difficult but exciting mission. In the representation by E.F.O.E.P.A. was headed by the president Costas Papageorgiou.

Also present were the board member and president of the Local Committee of Western Greece/Peloponnese Panagiotis Tzovolos, administrative employees of the federation, Gionis’ mother and his sister with her children, referees, athletes and Thomas Kousioris, representative of KOUSgroup, of major sponsor of E.F.O.E.P.A. on WEB TV, through the channel.

The nieces of Gionis together with their friends held flags and bouquets. The federation also offered flowers and when the three men appeared at the arrivals area receiving cheers and prolonged applause, Vatsaklis also unfurled the large Greek flag, which he traditionally carries with him at major events.

I have been asked by several people how I managed it again and the question came because of age. I think that in order to achieve such goals you have to have a lot of stubbornness and a big soul. I also sometimes don’t believe that I can still compete at such a high level, but I always feel… younger, I prepare properly and take care of my body to avoid injuries“, said the Greek champion.

I believe that if you pay attention to these things you can achieve anything. This is the secret. The Pre-Olympics are perhaps the most stressful of all competitions. And how can this not happen when you reach the last match before qualifying for the Olympic Games. I didn’t sleep on Friday night. I went into the deciding semi-final on three hours of sleep, but I knew it was a match that could take me to…heaven and I gave it my all».

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