by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The abiding memory of Nikos Kostopoulos is sitting courtside, in particular guiding the fortunes of the likes of Kalinikos Kreanga, Panagioitis Gionis and Konstantinos Papageorgiou.
Life as a coach has its moments of triumphs and exasperations, it was the same for Nikos Kostopoulos but whether in defeat our in success, always he displayed a caring attitude to his players; just as much as they wanted to win, he desired the same.
Surely that is a quality equal our above all others that a player desires; to turn to the bench and know that in the hall there is at least one person who really wants you to win.
Always polite, always well-mannered and always constructive when assessing a match or a player’s performance; never a man for great extremes, always Nikos Kostopoulos gave a thoughtful response, always the gentleman.
No doubt his greatest hours were at the Liebherr 2003 World Championships in Paris when in the early rounds of the Men’s Singles event Konstantinos Papageorgiou beat Sweden’s Jan-Ove Waldner and Kalinikos Kreanga progressed to the semi-final.
It was a success that filled Greece with great hopes for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games but in the Galatsi OIympic Stadium, Jörgen Persson extracted Swedish revenge for one year earlier to extinguish the medal hopes of Kalinikos Kreagea.
Success and disappointment, the life of the coach, Nikos Kostopoulos met both scenarios with equanimity and those qualities have now been passed to his son, Kostadinos; for the first time in his career he was the coach for the Greece Women’s Team at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships.
Our condolences to the Kostopoulos family; Nikos is sadly missed. The funeral is scheduled for Monday 20th March.