By George Psyllides
CYPRIOT Olympic sailing champion Pavlos Kontides has become the latest athlete to complain about delays in receiving financial support from the state, which sometimes never comes.
Kontides, who won silver in last year’s Olympics and second place in the world cup last month, said the state was late in reimbursing him, something which caused him to lose focus.
“Instead of concentrating on my preparation, I am forced to think about whether the state will actually fulfil what was approved, and of course concern myself on finding additional financial resources to cover the expenses that were never approved,” Kontides told a news conference.
Kontides said he needed support to be able to perform during competitions. He said he could not use all his income on preparation, nor could he burden himself and his family and neglect other aspects of his life.
“Unfortunately what I expected to change after the Olympics, and all that was promised to me was put aside,” he said.
And whatever was put in place was done after a long delay, the Cypriot champ said.
The Cyprus sports organisation (KOA) said it was saddened that Kontides chose to go public with the matter, adding that it had granted the athlete close to €355,000 in 2013.
“In the middle of an economic crisis, food banks, and huge unemployment, we are forced to publish all the figures concerning the athlete’s financial support,” KOA said.
KOA said it has already released €267,704 and an additional €87,226 would be granted in the next few weeks.
The amounts do not include the bonus for the silver medal in the world championship, KOA said.
The organisation acknowledged the delay, but said it was due to the “dramatic financial conditions in our country.”
Several champions have in the past voiced similar complaints against KOA.