Greece's dream for its first ever Olympic gold in table tennis
was shattered as its top medal hopeful Kalinikos Kreanga crashed
out of the men's singles last 16 despite the enthusiastic support
of a home crowd.
In a third round encounter staged in the Galatsi Olympic Hall in
northwest Athens Tuesday morning, Kreanga, currently ranked
9th in the world, suffered a straight-set loss to
Swedish veteran Jorg Persson 4-0.
Kreanga was the only remaining Greek in the singles matches as
his teammate chopper Panagiotis Gionis already lost in the first
round. Kreanga and Gionis also lost in the men's doubles second
"My presentation (today) was not the best. I played against a
very experienced athlete who didn't give the chance to come back
after 2-0 games."
However, he said that he did have a chance to win the third
game, in which he came back from 7-9 down to a 9-9 draw. But he
finally also conceded this game 9-11.
"This (the third game) is a very important set in the match, but
I didn't seize the chance," he said.
But the Greek denied that he was playing under great pressure
because of the high expectations on him from the home crowd.
"I don't think that will put me under pressure. I just felt
nervous while playing the first match in the big events," he
Due to his high seeding position in the tournament, Kreanga had
enjoyed a bye in the first two rounds of the singles
Then how about the home crowd? Kreanga said "I think some
of them might feel very disappointed because they have come here to
see me play".
However, he said he believes that the spectators will keep on
watching the tournament despite his loss.
"They love this sport and they have come not only for me. They
are just disappointed for this round, but they will keep coming to
watch the other matches," he added.
(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2004)