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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 11/08/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Milutinovic begins two-day official visit to Greece
  • Fouras expressed displeasure at stance of IAAF chief
  • Athens '97 World Athletics Championships come to a successful end
  • Silver medallist in women's 10 kms walk disqualified
  • Medals table
  • Greece ready to host the 2004 Olympic Games
  • Olympic Airways airliner carrying soccer team aborts take-off
  • Hailstorm devastates crops in central Greece
  • Eighty goats killed by lightning
  • Albanians, Frenchman arrested for hashish
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Milutinovic begins two-day official visit to Greece

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic today began an official two-day visit to Greece during which he will have talks with his counterpart Theodoros Pangalos.

Milutinovic' talks with Pangalos tomorrow are expected to cover developments in the Balkans and bilateral issues related to economic and political co- operation.

According to informed sources, the talks will focus in particular on the progress in the implementation of the Dayton peace accord on Bosnia, the summit meeting of Balkan countries in Crete in November and the promotion of Greek investments in Yugoslavia.

A number of Greek public and private sector companies are active or wish to become active in the neighbouring country, including the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) concerning the purchase of part of the equivalent Serbian organisation.

Several major Greek construction companies have expressed interest in the construction of the European E75 highway.

Fouras expresses displeasure at stance of IAAF chief

Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras today expressed displeasure at the stance of IAAF President Primo Nebiolo during the 6th World Athletics Championships which ended here Sunday night.

Nebiolo was widely perceived in Greece as having tried to belittle Athens in order to increase Rome's chances of being selected to stage the 2004 Olympic Games.

Athens and Rome are bidding for the 2004 Games, along with Buenos Aires, Stockholm and Capetown.

The successful organisation of the 6th World Athletics Championships held in Athens from 1-10 August was seen as essential to Greece' bid for the Olympics.

Replying to reporters' questions on the booing of Nebiolo by athletics fans at last night's closing ceremony, Fouras said:

"The intuition of the people is infallible. The disappoval expressed was only to be expected. To be honest, I too was annoyed by his stance."

Turning to the issue of ticket sales for the championships, Fouras directly accused the IAAF saying:

"They told us as far back as May that 17,000 'packages' had been sold abroad. At the moment, nobody can say for certain what happened. But a committee has already been set up under Sports general secretary Yiannis Sgouros, which will examine all the facts and announce its findings soon."

Replying to other questions, Fouras said the total cost of staging the championships would be close to 11 billion drachmas.

Athens '97 World Athletics Championships come to a successful end

The Athens '97 World Athletics Championships came to a close last night as fireworks lit the sky at the Olympic Stadium of Athens, packed with sports enthusiasts, over 3,000 athletes representing over 200 countries, sports officials and Greek government representatives.

The closing ceremony of the 6th International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) event began with participating athletes who paraded in the stadium under their flags.

Following the IAAF hymn and the national anthem of Greece, this year's host city handed the flag to Seville, which will host them in 1999.

A roll call was made of all athletes who had won gold medals, followed by wild clapping from the audience. No closing speeches were made, and during the music that followed athletes broke out in dance on the track and field, followed by fireworks.

Despite some impressive victories in these championships, no world records were broken.

The United States dominated the event with most medals (7 gold, 3 silver, 8 bronze), the Germans second (5 gold, 1 silver, 4 bronze), and Cuba (4 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze).

In a message for the closing of the event, Prime Minister Costas Simitis congratulated the athletes "from all over the world who did their best in every event" in the championships and said the event had been "immensely successful".

Mr. Simitis said, "A special recommendation must surely go to the Greek athletes who showed us that a new generation of great track and field athletes is being born".

Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras in a statement thanked the athletes who took part, as well as the IAAF, the Greek political parties and the mass media.

"Wishing goodbye to all those that we have hosted with love all these ten days, I assure them that the Greek people will do their best to host them again even more warmly in the future," he concluded.

Silver medallist in women's 10 kms walk disqualified

Russian silver medallist walker Olympiada Ivanova became yesterday the second athlete to be stripped of a world championship medal for cheating with drugs and now faces a two-year ban.

In a statement the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) said Ivanova, who finished second in Thursday's 10 kms walk, had tested positive for the steroid stanozolol together with compatriot Lyubov Tsyoma who failed to finish her 800 metres s emifinal heat on the same day.

The 27-year-old Ivanova will also lose her $30,000 prize money. Under IAAF rules, both athletes will be banned for two years, the minimum penalty for a serious doping offence.

Stanozolol was the drug used by Canadian Ben Johnson when he won the 1988 Seoul Olympics 100 metres final in world record time. Johnson lost the gold medal and the time was not recognised by the IAAF.

Ivanova, who produced the best performance of her career to win the silver medal, was the second medallist to test positive after Ukraine's world shot put champion Aleksandr Bagach.

Bagach was stripped of his gold medal after testing positive for the stimulant ephedrine but escaped with a public warning because the drug is not regarded as being as serious an offence as steroid abuse.

French 400 metres hurdler Pascal Maran and women's triple jumper Oxana Zelinskaya of Kazakhstan, neither of whom made the finals, also tested positive for ephedrine and were given a warning.

Under the IAAF's old rules the two Russians would have been banned for four years. But the IAAF decided to halve its bans for serious drugs at a meeting before the championships because of legal problems with the longer ban.

Belarus walker Olga Kardopoltseva, who finished third, was given the silver medal in the 10 kms with her compatriot Valentina Tsybulkskaya elevated from fourth to the bronze medal position.

Medals table

Final medals table from the sixth World Athletics Championships which ended yesterday: United States: 7 gold, 3 silver, 8 bronze Germany: 5 gold, 1 silver, 4 bronze Cuba: 4 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze Kenya: 3 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze Ukraine: 2 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze Morocco: 2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze Czech Republic: 2 gold Norway: 2 gold Russia: 1 gold,4 silver, 3 bronze Spain: 1 gold,3 silver, 1 bronze Portugal: 1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze Australia: 1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze Italy: 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze Romania: 1 gold,1 silver, 1 bronze Canada: 1 gold,1 silver Poland: 1 gold, 1 silver South Africa: 1 gold, 1 silver France: 1 gold, 1 bronze Japan: 1 gold,1 bronze Mexico: 1 gold, 1 bronze Denmark: 1 gold Ethiopia: 1 gold New Zealand: 1 gold Sweden: 1 gold Trinidad: 1 gold Britain: 5 silver, 1 bronze Jamaica: 3 silver, 4 bronze Belarus: 2 silver, 2 bronze Greece: 1 silver,1 bronze Lithuania: 1 silver, 1 bronze Bulgaria: 1 silver Finland: 1 silver Namibia: 1 silver Nigeria: 1 silver Sri Lanka: 1 silver Uganda: 1 silver Bahamas: 1 bronze Brazil: 1 bronze Mozambique: 1 bronze Slovakia: 1 bronze Switzerland: 1 bronze

Greece ready to host the 2004 Olympic Games

Greece has proven it is able to host the Olympic Games of 2004 and is committed to sports, president of the Athens 2004 Bid Committee Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said yesterday.

In a press statement at the close of the World Amateur Athletics Championships hosted in Athens from August 1 to 10, Mrs. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said the event proved to its visitors that "Athens is very capable of hosting a world-class competition."

She also mentioned the fact that "the weather was wonderful, our sporting facilities were excellent, our traffic moved quickly". Everything pointed out to the fact that the 2004 bid "is based on a rigorously prepared technical plan for hosting the Olympics", she said, adding that the organisation of the events allowed Greece to "show the reality behind (its) statistics" for the Athens bid.

In a reference to the International Olympic Committee members, who attended the event as guests, Mrs. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said that,"We have shown the International Olympic Committee that 72 per cent of the sporting facilities (and 93 per cent of th e training facilities) needed to host the Olympics in 2004 are already in place".

Mrs. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki asserted that by 2004, Athens "will become even better able to host the Olympic Games", citing major infrastuctural projects such as the new airport at Spata, the metro, and a new ring road that would improve transportation t ime and the quality of air.

Olympic Airways airliner carrying soccer team aborts take-off

An Olympic Airways airliner with 110 passengers aboard, including Crete's first division OFI soccer team, narrowly averted an accident today when its two rear wheels burst during takeof from Heraklion terminal in Crete, airport authorities said.

The pilot of the OA plane, en route to Copenhagen and Reykjavik, managed to keep the plane on the runway, and there were no injuries among the passengers.

The airliner was carrying the OFI team, soccer officials and journalists to Reykjavik for a soccer match.

The airport authorities said the passengers would be transferred to another OA airliner, while seven flights had been rerouted to Chania airport as the airliner was blocking the runway.

Hailstorm devastates crops in central Greece

A hailstorm in Larissa, central Greece, has devastated thousands of stremma of cotton, corn and other crops, plunging farmers from 17 local communities into despair.

The hailstorm, which lasted for about 45 minutes and rained hail the size of walnuts, totally destroyed the crops, which unofficial estimates put at 60,000 stremma, causing hundreds of millions of drachma in damages.

The hailstorm, accompanied by strong winds, also uprooted trees and swept away roofs from a number of homes.

Two months ago, another hailstorm destroyed an estimated 80-90 percent of seasonal crops in Kavala, northern Greece.

Eighty goats killed by lightning

Eighty goats were burned to death by a bolt of lightning this morning during a thunderstorm in the area of Halkero, Kavala in northern Greece.

The goatherd, Nikolaos Karasmanis, escaped unhurt.

Albanians, Frenchman arrested for hashish

Two Albanians were arrested in Larissa, central Greece, early this morning with 18 kilograms of hashish in their possession, Larissa police said.

The Albanians, identified as Mendan Esak, 43, and Artan Hamzi, 18, told police they had brought the hashish from Albania. They will be taken before the public prosecutor today.

Meanwhile, a French singer has been arrested at Thessaloniki's "Macedonia" international airport after being found in possession of a small quantity of hashish.

The man was identified as Frederic Charles Louis Lebon, 32, a singer by profession and resident of Paris.

Lebon was arrested after flying in to Thessaloniki last night from the French capital.

A search of Lebon by customs officers revealed a 27 gram piece of hashish in plastic wrapping.

WEATHER

Unstable weather in Macedonia and Thrace and the islands of the northern and eastern Aegean, with cloudiness and sporadic thunderstorms, mostly in the evening hours. Mostly fair in the rest of the country. Winds northerly, light to moderate, becoming strong in the southern Aegean. Athens fair with some rain possible towards the evening and temperatures between 22-31C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 19-28C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 291.672 Pound sterling 457.085 Cyprus pd 531.501 French franc 46.273 Swiss franc 190.671 German mark 156.060 Italian lira (100) 15.991 Yen (100) 247.505 Canadian dlr. 210.068 Australian dlr. 213.318 Irish Punt 415.749 Belgian franc 7.557 Finnish mark 52.153 Dutch guilder 138.508 Danish kr. 40.947 Swedish kr. 36.269 Norwegian kr. 37.970 Austrian sch. 22.203 Spanish peseta 1.850 Port. Escudo 1.544

(S.S.)


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