Kenteris set to defend 200m title

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Konstantin Kenteris, an Air Force sergeant is hoping to strike gold at the Olympics this time around.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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New Delhi:

Konstantin Kenteris, an Air Force sergeant is hoping to strike gold at the Olympics this time around. Born in 1973, and a student of Physical education, Kenteris got into sports at the age of 10. He first became the Greek national champion at the age of 16, and has been unbeaten in the event at home since then. A hero at home, Kenteris shot to Olympic glory in 2000 earning the title of 'Greece Lightening' after this phenomenal run in the 200m final. Kenteris smashed his personal best to clock 20.09 seconds to claim the gold medal and that made him the first Greek to win an Olympic title in athletics since Spiridon Louis won the marathon in 1896. The 31-year-old is hopeful of successfully defending his title in front of his home crowd. "I feel great, I feel very strong. I prepared for this event and I hope everything will go very well for me," said Kenteris. Injury troubles After that success in Sydney, there has been no looking back for Kenteris. He went on to take the 200 metre gold at the World Championships in 2001 and the European Championships in 2002. He missed the 2003 World Championships in Paris through injury but feels he is fully fit for Athens. "I have recovered from all injuries. There were some minor problems that prevented me from taking part in Paris but by no means would I have risked my participation in the Olympics," said Kenteris. As the Olympic games return to the land of their origin, the Greeks are looking for their most successful showing ever. Going by their football team's success in Euro 2004, Greek sportsmen are clearly capable of springing a surprise on their fans. But there will be no surprises if this 'Greece lightening' chooses Athens to strike again.

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