European bronze medal and qualification to the Olympics for the blue and white mermaids
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European bronze medal and qualification to the Olympics for the blue and white mermaids

The girls of the National Polo Team made history once again as they won the bronze medal in the minor final of the European Championships in Eindhoven, as they defeated Italy 7-6. With this performance, the Greek athletes qualified for the Olympic Games to be held this summer in Lille and Paris.

Despite the successes of the national team in European and World Championships, this qualification to the Olympics was the first in 16 years, with the national coach and the players of the team describing as “redemption” everything they experienced in the Netherlands.

“This is a historic moment, we fought as Greek women today and gave our souls. I think we deserved it, we’ve been conjuring up 16 years, it’s a big deal and a responsibility that all of us who believed in these athletes took on. The answer is all theirs. We keep going, because this team will do great things, now that the stress is gone from them,” said visibly moved federal coach Alexia Kammenou, while the team’s most valuable player, Nicole Eleftheriadou, added with tears in her eyes. I’m shaking. I can’t describe what this means to us. This team played with so much soul, they didn’t deserve anything else. I’m trying to realize what has happened. I’m grateful to live the dream of the Olympics with these girls. I have no words.”

The delegation of the National Polo Team was welcomed at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport on Sunday by the Deputy Minister of Sports, Yannis Vroutsis, the Secretary General of Sports, Giorgos Mavrotas, the swimming curator and representative of the CoE in the EOC, Nikos Xylouris, and the members of the Board of Directors, Elias Xiarchos and Tzoni Kalimeris.

The Deputy Minister of Sports, Yiannis Vroutsis, said: “We welcome the girls who made us proud, they made us tearful, they showed us how high Greek water polo is, with a lot of potential. And it can go even higher.

The Secretary General of Sport, George Mavrotas, pointed out: “A dream of the last generations of Greek women’s water polo becomes reality.

The last generation of young women’s water polo players have been waiting for the Olympic Games since 2008, and now that the stress is gone – because there was a lot of stress – the team has no ‘ceiling’. At the World Cup coming up and at the Olympics, both our national teams, men’s and women’s, are in very good shape and we can expect very important things.”

This was the 13th medal for the women’s national polo team in its history.

The medals of the women’s national polo team:

2004 Olympic Games (Athens), Silver

2005 World League (Kirishi), Gold

2007 World League (Montreal), Bronze

2010 World League (San Diego), Bronze

2010 European Championships (Zagreb), Silver

2011 World Championships (Shanghai), Gold

2012 European Championships (Eindhoven), Silver

2012 World League (Changchu), Bronze

2018 European Cup (Ponteverde), Gold

2018 Mediterranean Games (Tarragona), Bronze

2018 European Championships (Barcelona), Silver

2022 European Championships (Split), Silver

2024 European Championships (Eindhoven), Bronze