The annual European Gymnastics Training Camp in Men’s Artistic Gymnastics served as the best showcase for Greek gymnastics and for the possibilities of “Ioannis Melissanidis” Sports Hall, Thessaloniki, which hosted the event for the second consecutive year, in collaboration between the Hellenic Gymnastics Federation and European Gymnastics.
For about ten days, from June 27th to July 5tj, 22 up-and-coming gymnasts aged 13 to 16 and an equal number of coaches from 14 European countries got closer to their dreams and to the sport they serve, participating in personalized training sessions, attending educational seminars under the supervision of top-level European Gymnastics instructors and creating new friendships. The advice offered by Olympic champions such as Ioannis Melissanidis and Dimosthenis Tampakos gave additional prestige to the camp.
Moreover, the participants had the opportunity to get to know the cultural heritage of Thessaloniki, visit nearby beaches and receive special gifts from the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization.
The positive input and wide smiles of the visitors rewarded the efforts of the Hellenic Gymnastics Federation, led by the coordinator of the camp and Second Vice-President of the Federation, mr. Avraam Sapranidis, so that the camp takes root in Greece and becomes a lever for the wider development of gymnastics, but also sports tourism in Thessaloniki.
“We are happy to have won the trust of European Gymnastics, which chose us again this year to host this camp. I believe that we will have it again next year in Thessaloniki and with conditions that can be even better. Our gym can become the main training center for artistic gymnastics teams from all over Europe. We should, with the help of the State, improve the apparatus and some other elements in order to reach the highest level. Every year we receive requests to host teams from abroad and their presence gives us significant benefits”, said Greek 2012 Olympic champion and current coach of the national team, Vasilios Tsolakidis.
Among the instructors of the camp was mr. Alekos Ioakimidis, the only triple Olympic champion among Greek artistic gymnastics coaches, who returned to the gym and shared his experience with the young coaches and athletes.
“I have been in gyms for 51 years and I was very happy that my friends invited me to this camp. They showed me that they have not forgotten me. Sharing knowledge is important for coaches, but also for gymnasts. Through joint trainings, seeing their fellow athletes, they understand and learn to perform a new exercise much faster”, underlined the former coach of Dimosthenis Tampakos and Vasilios Tsolakidis.
The appointment is now renewed for 2023, with the Hellenic Gymnastics Federation again as possible hosts. Croatian Mario Vukoja, the supervisor of the camp and Vice-President of the MAG Technical Committee of European Gymnastics, thanked the Greek organizers and shared his insight on the camp:
“Congratulations to the Hellenic Gymnastics Federation, which hosted the camp for the second year and organized it successfully, in these very good facilities. It is an institution that has a tradition of more than thirty years, promoting the idea of one Europe, a united Europe. Young gymnastics and coaches share knowledge and make friends, through training and social activities that complement the training program. The conditions we found ncountered were very good and I hope we will return here again next year!”
Interview with the camp coordinator and Vice-President of the MAG Technical Committee of European Gymnastics, Mario Vukoja:
TV100 Thessaloniki channel reported live on the training camp, including interviews with the Hellenic Gymnastics Federation Vice-President mr. Avraam Sapranidis and the young Greek gymnasts Giannis Tsivelekidis and Kyriakos Hatzioannidis: