Sport

Sport

From the popular football to the exotic beach volleyball, sport has always been a tool for relaxation and escape from the daily routine. Thessaloniki provides excellent conditions for dynamic lifestyle and different sport activities in which Bulgarians left their marks as early as during the Balkaniada in1980 when Lydia Gusheva (100 meters) and Yordanka Filipova (400 meters) won medals in the hurdle-race.

In 19th century the world of sport became more dynamic and the presence of Bulgarian athletes and trainers in Thessaloniki increased. Recently the début of Dimitar Berbatov for the Thessaloniki football club PAOK on 12 September 2015 attracted serious attention. For less than a year (30 June 2016) the famous Bulgarian footballer played for PAOK 25 matches in which he scored 5 goals. The successes of Dimitar Berbatov in Thessaloniki are the latest manifestation of Bulgarian football talents in the city. As early as in the season 1975/76 Dobromir Zhechev made his debut as a trainer in the Thessaloniki ARIS. It is very interesting that this team – opponent of PAOK – maintains friendly relations with BOTEV – the Bulgarian team from Plovdiv because they share common colours of their clothing. In ARIS the trainer is well-known Ivan Vutzov but in the season 1991/92 Valentin Ignatov played 23 matches and scored 9 goals for this Thessaloniki team. ARIS gave a chance for professional development of Bulgarian basketballers as Dimitar Angelov (2002/2003) and Aleksandar Vezenkov (2011/2015). In 2015 the Bulgarian with Greek and Cyprusian citizenship, was awarded the title MVP (the prize for the leading scorer) within the Greek league and in 2013, 2014, 2015 he was announced for the best young player. In the Thessaloniki volleyball teams also participate Bulgarian who are internationally acclaimed. Nikolay Zhelyazkov played for PAOK (2001/2002) and for IRAKLI (2003/2004) but since 2015 he became a trainer of PAOK. The emblematic for the Bulgarian volleyball during the recent thirty years – Plamen Konstantinov - has played for the three Thessaloniki teams: ARIS, PAOK and IRAKLI and he was among the best players in the Greek championship. Vladimir Nikolov with the team of the French Tours won the final of the Champions league in Thessaloniki and became MVP within this sport event in 2005 г.

Thessaloniki is an arena on which Bulgarian national and club teams competed with the best opponents in different sport disciplines. Some of the most significant Bulgarian successes are connected with the chess-master Ventsislav Inkiov (second place within the International chess tournament Triandrias in 2016), Gabriela Georgieva (three golden medals in swimming in 50, 100 and 200 meters in Youth Grand Prix in 2015) and Yuliana Novoselska (4 golden medals in the championship for veterans in Greece in 2016). It is necessary to be mentioned the participation of the Bulgarian competitors in taekuwndo who won 38 medals during the European championship in 2016 in Thessaloniki. In 2015 within the World championship, the Bulgarian sportsmen won 4 medals in karate kiokushin - one of which is golden; 24 medals of the Bulgarian swimmers from the tournament Neov grand prix in 2016; 5 awards for the Bulgarian athletes in 2014 at the tournament Stavros Baltidas and the successes of the young fencers (up to the age of 13 years old) from the sport club Sofia who won the cup of Thessaloniki in 2013.

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