By Graham Wood
ATHENS (Reuters) - The Greek government was left embarrassed on Thursday after a special ceremony to honor the country’s Olympic team went ahead without Anna Korakaki, one of their three gold medalists in Rio.
Shooter Korakaki, 19, won two of Greece’s six medals, gold in the women’s 25 meter pistol final and bronze in the 10 meter air pistol event.
Greece President Prokopis Pavlopoulos met the other medal winners but Korakaki was unable to attend due to a holiday. Authorities had only informed the athletes late on Wednesday afternoon about the tribute event.
“I really do not know what to say, I feel frustrated. I have fallen out with a lot of people recently and obviously we’re now paying the price for it,” Korakaki’s coach and father Tasos Korakakis told Greek sports website gazzetta.gr.
“I really don’t want to believe that she has not been invited deliberately, but still I have some doubts…I actually found out from journalists about the tribute event last night and contacted the president of the HOC, Mr (Spiros) Kapralos, who I think is in no way responsible for it, but there are no excuses.”
Anna Korakaki is in France.
“They knew Anna would be out of Greece these days and we had told them to inform us in advance so we could plan accordingly, her father said.
The Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) moved to play down local media reports that Korakaki was deliberately not invited to the event.
“It’s not a case of the athlete not being invited,” a HOC spokesman said.
“The decision by the government to hold the event came late yesterday afternoon and many other athletes could not attend. Some athletes have in fact just returned from Rio today. The state is planning another event when the whole team can be present.”
(Editing by Ed Osmond)