In a formal ceremony today, Eurobank EFG, sponsor of all national basketball teams since 2001 awarded the four national basketball teams that excelled in international competitions in the summer of 2009.
The ceremony was attended by the President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias, who presented the award to the Men’s National Team. It was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who presented the award to the U20 National Team. The Women’s National Team was awarded by the Deputy CEO of Eurobank EFG, Byron Ballis, and the U19 National Team by Eurobank’s CEO, Mr. Nicholas Nanopoulos.
Opening the event, Mr. Pangalos said: “I had an active interest in sports, but not in basketball. There were no basketball courts in the area I grew up. I discovered basketball, like most, thanks to major achievements of the national teams in recent years. We won a proud position. I have two sons who re almost two meters tall and I would feel joy and honour to see them in one of these teams one day”.
For his part, Mr. Nanopoulos said: “Honouring our athletes, we honour Greek sport, our dynamic youth, which so often manages, with passion and tenacity,to show that there are no goals that cannot be achieved, no dreams that cannot become reality. And have all need for this message of optimism and confidence that reflects valuable timeless values, particularly at this difficult time of crisis for our country.
As sponsor of all national basketball teams in the past nine years, Eurobank feels very excited and proud to have the honour to stand alongside our athletes and support their efforts. From the beginning, we believed in their dream, we saw their titanic effort and shared with them the unique excitement of a process which led to so many triumphs and international awards. And every time we feel joy, as do all Greeks, to reward their successes."
For his part, the president of FIBA EUROPE, Mr. George Vassilakopoulos, said: “In sport we should enjoy human and friendly relations. The great summer of Hellenic basketball came as a natural development of the continuity and consistency shown by those involved in the sport. It came to reward the principles and values that it and we serve together. And also, to reaffirm the belief that we should be supporting Hellenic basketball, not basketball in Greece. That is why sometimes I have been called a romantic and wondered when that word became a barb and an insult. A big ‘thank you’ to this youth here and a thank you to Eurobank for supporting them for so many years. I have never seen a partnership like this before. We continue towards a bright future.”
Upon receipt the prize, Antonis Fotsis, leader of the National Men’s Team said: “I would like to thank Eurobank. We are very excited about what we have accomplished and hope to do this again in the future”. Evina Maltsi, leader of the National Women’s Team, stressed that the secret of success of each team is the team behind it. In this case, it is the Hellenic Basketball Federation and Eurobank as its sponsor. “Thank you for the opportunity you give us to work and bring success”. Nikos Pappas, head of the U19 National Team, said: “It’s great for a team to have so many supporters and it gives us motivation to fight in the court”. After thanking the sponsor and the Federation, Haris Giannopoulos, head of the U20 National Team, noted that: “As long as we enjoy this support, we have no excuse not to continue fighting in the court and that is what we will do.”
The event awards were given to:
- The National Women’s Team, which this year achieved the highest distinction in history, winning the fifth place in the European Championship in Latvia, while ensuring for the first time its participation in the World Championship in 2010 in the Czech Republic.
- The U19 National Team, which won the silver medal in the World Championship in New Zealand.
- The U20 National Team, which won the gold medal in the European Championship in Rhodes.
- The National Men’s Team, which contested this year with a new composition and a new coach and demonstrated enormous potential for new great victories, winning the bronze medal in the Eurobasket 2009 in Poland.