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02 November, 2000
The greater part of the Greek team at the 2000 Paralympics returned to Athens from Sydney early on Wednesday morning, bringing home four gold, four silver and two bronze medals. Another 14 members of the team, meanwhile, arrived at 10:00 in Thessaloniki airport in northern Greece.
Deputy Sports Minister George Floridis, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and main opposition New Democracy MP Manolis Kefaloyiannis, as well as numerous friends and relatives greeted the athletes at Athens airport.
Floridis greeted them with exceptional warmth, saying that they were "a shining example for all of us," while Avramopoulos said that their courage inspired Greece to continue its efforts to overcome difficulties in preparing for the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.
The same sentiments were expressed by Kefaloyiannis, who said: "We are all determined to organize 2004 but we need performances like yours."
Meanwhile, the other 14 members of the Greek team returned on a flight to Thessaloniki airport, including silver medallist Maria Kalpakidou and bronze medallist Simos Paltsanitidis.
Representatives of the Thessaloniki municipality, friends and relations met them.
In statements on their arrival, the athletes complained about the lack of televised coverage of the games, even when the medals were being awarded, while noting that the support they receive gives them the courage to continue their efforts.
The Paralympic athletes also urged young people with impaired mobility to get into sports, saying that these activities lent strength, new hope for the future and helped improve the quality of life and level of mobility.
Source: Athens News Agency