by Simon Daish
Seeded fourth for the category Ioannis Sgouropoulos entered the competition as one of the main title contenders for silverware, but was the clear underdog in the Junior Boys’ Singles final as the Greek competitor took on the top seeded player Cristian Pletea in the title match.
In a highly dramatic encounter Ioannis Sgouropoulos stunned his Romanian opponent across seven games to lift the trophy (11-9, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 3-11, 12-10) and Sgouropoulos’ fine efforts have now been recognised by the state after the Greek star was invited for a special meeting with the Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports, Giorgos Vassiliadis.
“We had a meeting today with the Minister and I’m glad that the state recognises my successes. It is very important to me and it gives me an incentive to continue… I am the best teenager in Europe and I am very happy!”, Ioannis Sgouropoulos.
Accompanied by Emmanuel Kolibadis, President of Hellenic Table Tennis Federation, Ioannis Sgouropoulos met with Minister Giorgos Vassiliadis, who congratulated the European Youth champion for his success achieved in Guimarães.
Ioannis Sgouropoulos presented the Minister with his title winning shirt and a delighted Giorgos Vassiliadis stated that he is hoping to see the young star continue to do his country proud at future events.
“Today is a happy day for all of us and for me personally. Ioannis Sgouropoulos… has made me very impressed with his young age, with his talent, how excellent an athlete he is and how modest he is. With health above all, I hope that he will bring us other successes”, Giorgos Vassiliadis.
Source: Athenian-Macedonian News Agency