A great start at the annual Training Camp in Men’s Artistic Gymnastics in Thessaloniki (video & photos)

The annual European Gymnastics Training Camp in Men’s Artistic Gymnastics started in high spirits in Thessaloniki, Greece, where it is hosted by the Hellenic Gymnastics Federation for the first time.
The event, which offers to young gymnasts aged 13 to 16 and their coaches a unique opportunity of training, learning and becoming friends to colleagues from all over Europe, is held from August 21st to 29th at the “Ioannis Melissanidis” Sports Hall, within the Mikra National Sports Center facilities.

A total of 30 male gymnasts born between 2005 and 2008, representing 15 countries (Belgium, Britain, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland and Greece), along with 27 accompanying coaches, are attending the training camp, which promises to be most interesting.

The participants were welcomed on Saturday morning by mr. Tom Thingvold, President of the European Gymnastics MAG-TC, mr. Mario Vukoja, Vice-President of the European Gymnastics MAG-TC, and mr. Kostas Pantazis, General Secretary of the Hellenic Gymnastics Federation.

Representing the Hellenic Federation Board of Directors, also were present mr. Avraam Sapranidis, 2nd Vice-President of the Federation and President of the national artistic gymnastics TC, who has been assigned by the hosts as general coordinator at the Thessaloniki camp, and mr. Nikos Provias, member of the Federation Board and member of European Gymnastics MAG-TC, who is among the specialists teaching at the educational camp.

“This is a special camp, as it is our first time in Greece, after some 30 years of celebrating this event in Tirrenia, Italy. It is very exciting for us to be here”, said during his welcome message mr. Mario Vukoja, Vice-President of the European Gymnastics MAG-TC and assigned by the continental confederation as responsible for the event.

“On behalf of European Gymnastics, I welcome you all. After a very long tradition in Tirrenia, we now move to Thessaloniki and we are very grateful to the Hellenic Gymnastics Federation for organizing this camp. It’s a difficult time for all of us, due to the Covid-19 situation, but I’m sure that everything will be perfect in this event. I want to share my thoughts about the goals of the camp and I believe that one of the main goals is to create a strong, united Europe for coaches and young  gymnasts from all over the continent, who will be able to communicate with each other and become friends. As past has shown us, some of the friendships built at these training camps can last for a lifetime. So, stay together and be a team!”, commented mr. Tom Thingvold, President of the European Gymnastics MAG-TC.

On behalf of  the Hellenic Gymnastics Federation, the General Secretary mr. Kostas Pantazis said:
“It is a great honor to welcome you all in Thessaloniki on the occasion of this educational camp. We wish to thank European Gymnastics for trusting Hellenic Gymnastics Federation in organizing this fundamental institution for the development of artistic gymnastics. As it is the first time we organize such an event, we feel obliged to give our best and provide all participants with a safe and smooth running of the camp, so we can establish Mikra National Training Center as an ideal place for multiple future gymnastics events. Many thanks to all our people who worked for the right preparation of this camp and especially to mr. Sapranidis. We wish a pleasant stay to everyone”.

The daily program of the camp consists of training sessions under the supervision of the European Gymnastics experts, high-level academic and practical lectures for the coaches, and also cultural and leisure activities arranged by the Hellenic Gymnastics Federation in the city of Thessaloniki and the wider surrounding area, so all participants can get to know Greece better and leave with the best impressions.

Former parallel bars specialist and current MAG coach for Greece’s national team, Vasilios Tsolakidis has been assigned as technical coordinator of the event for the host Federation.

Throughout all the camp activities, both inside and outside the gym facilities, all necessary safety measures will be taken and protocols will be applied, in order to contain the spread of Covid-19 and ensure the good health of all participants.

Watch the news report of the public TV channel ERT3, which covered the opening day of the camp and interviewed the legendary Valeri Belenki, the technical coordinator of the event for the Hellenic Federation Vasilios Tsolakidis and the General Secretary of the Hellenic Gymnastics Federation Kostas Pantazis:

Photos of the Training Camp in Men’s Artistic Gymnastics in Thessaloniki: