Greek high jump champ blasts cost-cutting
Government officials stayed away on Monday as Greece's new world indoor men's high jump champion Dimitris Chondrokoukis returned from Istanbul - at the request of his coach-father Kyriakos with both men angry at cost-cutting as Athens battles massive debts.
Dozens of journalists and well-wishers were present at Athens Airport to greet the 24-year-old who on Sunday surprisingly won the high jump in Istanbul with a 2.33m leap, beating out two veteran Russian competitors for the top spot.
Chondrokoukis, whose main season target is the London Olympics, complained about training conditions in Athens, where cash-strapped state authorities have slashed facilities as Greece seeks to pare down huge debts.
"The conditions there are unacceptable and facilities are a big problem. There is lack of heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer," Chondrokoukis said, who had not won a major event in his career up until this weekend.
His father earlier had warned politicians not to show up to greet his son.
"Politicians are closing athletic facilities, it is unbelievable what is happening. Economics is not everything. The state should do things to make life easier for the training of athletes.
"Success is a personal achievement and that of the athletic federation which is battling with little funds to help the athletes," Kyriakos Chondrokoukis told Greek television station Antenna.