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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 March 2016
SPORT 24 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 MARCH 2016 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM A place among Australia’s ‘strongmen’ Spyros Lambas lifts his way into Arnold Classic 2016 Pro, the greatest line-up of strength champions ever assembled NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU Since its debut in 1989, the Arnold Classic attracts over 200,000 sports fans watching more than 20,000 athletes challenging their strength and stamina. The championship has expanded into the world's largest multi-sport and bodybuilding competition, featuring 50 sports and games, including 12 Olympic sports. Former Olympians and Olympic hopefuls compete to break world records in the US and Australia. The Arnold Classic Rogue Record Breakers USA event took place at the Columbus Convention Center in Ohio last Sunday, seeing three of the strongest men in the world try their hands at setting new world records. Eight-time champion and 2016 Arnold Strongman Classic winner Zydrunas Savickas won again over hard competition and he is now ready to bring the trophy Down Under, showing why he is still the man to beat. The under-card will again feature in the battle for the Southern Hemisphere’s Strongest Man, with reigning champion Eben Le Roux determined to defend the ti- tle and keep it here in Oz for another year. Two Greek Australians have qualified this year, ready to take on the world's most fierce giants over six gruelling events for the chance to become the Arnold Strongman Australia 2016 champion, taking place next weekend at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre . Andrew Bakos and Spyros Lambas have qualified and will be competing in the under 105kg and under 90kg categories respectively, alongside 80 competitors in total in all weight divisions. "I have played soccer for the majority of my life and have only converted to this sport over the last 12 months," Spyros Lambas said. old - - d g "It's a sport which is growing here and I would like to see more Greeks being involved as there are a lot of strong Greeks with big Spartan hearts who would be good at this." He has made remarkable progress following a disciplined training routine which has helped him increase his dead-lift by 100kg in just two years, raising the 130kg bar to 235kg. G k i h od at this " It is this progress that made Olympic Greek medallist coach, invite Lambas to train with him Greece. Leonidis was recently in Australia and helped the athlete train, giving ing team's co vit to him L wa in an the tra him valuable advice on how to meet his goals, something he still does over Skype. "I'm proud to have made such massive improvements allowing me to compete against contestants who have been doing this for many more years," Lambas said. him valuable advi "The AC is a highly es- the Greek national weightliftin n Valerios Leonidis, who is currently th on is Greek Silver Olympic medallist Valerios Leonidis (L) with Spyros Lambas (R). teemed competition bringing together athletes from all over Australia, the UK, Canada, the USA and South Africa." Indeed, this years competition is the perfect formula for a high-level strongman competition with the right blend of heavy events to show off static strength combined with fast paced moving events. The winner will need to be everything that makes a great strongman demonstrating power, speed, strength, explosiveness and the right amount of endurance. "The Arnolds is the biggest event in the southern hemisphere," Lambas told Neos Kosmos, stressing how excited he is "to have qualified and be able to test my strength against some of the strongest in the world". Lambas, who has been training in the Strong Melbourne gym in Oakleigh, hopes that his 2016 participation will help him further develop in the sport and promote Greek determination. "My uniform usually features a Greek flag on my top or the colours of my beloved AEK as you can see," he says laughing. "Every time I have taken part in an event I always wear something that symbolises my Greek heritage. “Wish me luck." For more information on the event head to www.arnoldclassic.com.au When: 18-20 March 2016 - all day Where: Melbourne Exhibition Centre, 1 Convention Centre Pl, South Wharf VIC 3006 Sydney Olympic faces tough opening fixtures in new NPL campaign GEORGE STOGIANNOU Sydney Olympic returns to the scene of its last stand, during last season's NPL campaign, to begin a new campaign in 2016 when it visits Lambert Park this weekend to take on old rival Apia Leichhardt Tigers. But it will be a vastly dif- ferent Olympic line-up coach Grant Lee will take into battle on Sunday to the one that lost last season's elimination semi to Apia. Lee says he's lost nine out of his 16-man game day squad in the off-season with the departure of numerous key players to other clubs for various reasons. Players such as Troy Danaskos have moved to the ALeague (Wellington Phoenix), while visa players Taiga Soeda and Go Shirai have returned to Japan. "They (the Japanese players) were fantastic for us. Unfortunately they were looking to get A-League contracts but it didn't eventuate, so they've gone back to play J2 League," said Lee. Last year's main striker Dimi Hatzimouratis has returned to Melbourne for family and work reasons, while Ryan Kerr and Michael Trajanoski have also departed. Adding to coach Lee's difficulties was a boardroom shake-up at the end of last season, which led to a significant cut to the first team budget, restricting the coach's recruitment drive to fill the hole left by the departures. "We had this four- or fivemonth period where we couldn't move within the marketplace. It would've been fine if we’d lost one or two players. It wouldn't have mattered. We would've been able to plug a hole. To have nine out of your 16 leave the club and, like I said, not because they were unhappy at the club ... it just happened all at the one hit." Without the benefit of a budget adequate enough to sign established players from other clubs, Lee says, "we had to rely on a lot of younger boys from other clubs, maybe at stronger clubs, where they weren't getting regular game time. So we've had to go down that path". Meanwhile, recent developments at board level, particularly the appointment of new president Bill Papas, has given the coach some hope that additional funds will be available to recruit in May when the NSW NPL transfer window opens. The team that takes to the park against Apia on Sunday will include a handful of fa- Adrian Vranic has been promoted from the 20s. Olympic coach Grant Lee calls on youth to cover squad departures. PHOTO: FOOTBALLNSW.COM miliar Olympic players, including veteran keeper Paul Henderson, skipper Howard Fondyke, Harris and Michael Gaitatzis, Will Angel and Nick Tsattalios. " They're the boys that were sort of left behind. We're looking for them to step up and drive these kids around the paddock," says Lee. Some of the new faces include former Olympic youth players Chris Triantis and versatile defender/midfielder Mitch Stamatellis, as well as Anthony Tomelic and Mark Cindrik, who have all come across from Sydney United. Promising young striker "I think the first six games of this season will really be a good indicator of how we're going to go,” says coach Lee, “because in the first six games we play a lot of the top teams who I imagine will be at the back end of the season fighting for the title - Apia, Sydney United, Bonnyrigg, Rockdale. That's going to be a really tough gig for us early on. We don't have many easy games." SQUAD: Anthony Tomelic, Chris Triantis, William Angel, Paul Henderson, Jason Madonis, Mark Cindric, Jake De Marigny, Oliver Green, Jake Green, Adrian Vranic, Cohan Morris,Brayden Sorge, Leigh Egger, Howard Fondyke, Jacob Boutoubia, Harris Gaitatzis, Nikolas Tsattalios, Mitchell Stamatellis, Eoin Montford, Michael Gaitatzis, Denver Crickmore.
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