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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 08 December 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 8 DECEMBER 2018 27 SPORT Eleni Glouftsis named SA Young Australian of the Year She is the first female to umpire an AFL game THEODORA MAIOS The first female to umpire an AFL game, Greek Australian Eleni Glouftsis, has been named the 2019 SA Young Australian of the Year and received 2019 Australia Day honours in South Australia for her services to football. After starting her career as a whistle-blower in 2008, and progressing through the SANFL junior ranks, Ms Glouftsis, who also served as sports captain at her school Adelaide High, became the first woman to be a field umpire at the senior level of that competition in its 137-year history in August 2013. Ms Glouftsis was then placed in the AFL female pathway scholarship in 2015 and made history last year umpiring her first match at the elite level when Essendon and West Coast met in round nine at Etihad Stadium. Football operations manager Steve Hocking paid tribute to the 26-year-old for her development. "Eleni has dedicated a number of years to the game, and in doing so, has provided young women across the country with a visible path- receives continuous support and encouragement by her family. "There have been so many people to thank for their support in me being able to reach this point," she says Ms. Glouftsis, expressing her gratitude to her mother Dianne, father Tom and beloved nanna, who have yet to miss one of her games. Umpire Eleni Glouftsis in action during the 2016 NAB Challenge match between Carlton and Essendon at Ikon Park, Melbourne in February 2016. PHOTO: ADAM TRAFFORD/AFL MEDIA way to the elite game. "On behalf of the AFL, we would like to congratulate Eleni on this great honour and thank her for her continued and dedicated work umpiring AFL football," Mr Hocking said. Growing up in a Greek Australian family and being the youngest of three children, Eleni knows a thing or two about grit, determination and hard work whilst she says she "The support, respect and encouragement I have received from my colleagues and players at every level has also been overwhelming," she adds. Whilst the South Australian is the first female field umpire, there have been several female goal umpires who have officiated at the highest level with the first being Katrina Pressley in 1998. The most prolific has been Chelsea Roffey, who made her senior debut in 2004 and umpired the 2012 Grand Final. Ms. Glouftsis also works as a school teacher and trains on a daily basis in order to keep up with the extreme demands of the game. "My focus going forward is to improve my fitness and inspire other young girls to get involved with AFL and umpiring," she concludes. Postecoglou’s J-League adventure to continue GEORGE STOGIANNOU J-League club Yokohama F Marinos has kept faith with Australian coach Ange Postecoglou's leadership, by re-appointing him as manager for the 2019 season. Postecoglou confirmed the appointment in an SEN radio interview earlier in the week following his club's final home and away match last weekend. Introducing a new style of play to the club, Postecoglou's first season in charge, proved to be a bit of a rollercoaster for the Marinos club and its fans. Despite mixed results in the league, Postecoglou remained true to his coaching principles, developing a high intensity, pro-active style of play at the club, which in recent seasons has relied on a more conservative, risk averse style of football. The emphasis on attacking football under Postecoglou, has produced a season's goal tally second only to champi- ons Kawasaki Frontale. Yokohama also narrowly missed out on silverware in Postecoglou's first season, by reaching the final of the J-League Cup, only to lose 1-0 to Shonan Bellmare. However, league results have been inconsistent with the club finishing 12th on the ladder, narrowly avoiding the relegations play-off on goal difference. This compares with the previous season's fifth placed finish. Although it has proven capable going forward, Marinos has shown weaknesses defensively evidenced by the fact only two other teams in the 18 team competition, conceded more goals. " It's always been a consistent club," Postecoglou said of Yokohama, speaking to SEN radio. "One that's built on a very defensive pragmatic approach. I flipped it all on its head. "I knew we'd get some extremes in form. It was a major shift for this group of players and for the club. The transfer window gives me the opportunity to bring some players in that will suit the way we play. "I have no doubts the club will be expecting better results next season." During the interview, Postecoglou also acknowledged that the Greek FA had approached him about taking over the job as national team coach. Postecoglou explained however that whilst he won't rule out a return to national team coaching, he isn't ready to return to such a role as yet. "Being born in Greece, it would be an attractive proposition and going back to Europe. At this point in time, I'm enjoying my club football. I know what international football is all about. I wasn't ready to leap back in. At some point I'll jump back in to international football, but right now, club football is where I get most stimulation. I'd like to achieve something before I move on. That's a key driver now." One of the brothers during a kumite (sparring) game. As the medals keep coming, expectations only grow higher of the two young champions, yet they don’t seem to feel the pressure. PHOTO: GEORGE GEORGIOU Two young Greek karate champions fighting their way to gold James and Luke Georgiou have already distinguished themselves among their peers despite their young age and are setting their sights high for the future ALEX ANYFANTIS Karate has been enjoying a rise in popularity in recent years, so much so that it managed to find its way to the summer Olympics of Tokyo 2020. And how could it not, when it teaches its athletes important life values such as respect for themselves and also for their fellow athletes, discipline, and helps build strong, yet compassionate characters. A good example of this are young brothers James and Luke Georgiou, (11 and 10 years old respectively) who are already star pupils of their dojo (a space for immersive learning) and are winning medals by the dozens, yet they remain grounded and focused on their next objectives. As their father, George Georgiou explains to Neos Kosmos, the two kids took an immediate liking to the sport: "We thought as parents, they should try everything. And they took to it, they loved it. "Thankfully, their sensei (teacher) is the sensei of the Australian karate national team. "We didn't know that at the time, but we didn't necessarily take them to do karate so they can compete. "We just did it so they can build their self-confidence, so they can learn self-defence, discipline and they can learn to look after themselves. "And they took it to another level themselves." Mr Georgiou goes on to explain the added benefits that engaging in the sport has offered his two kids: "Through karate, they de- veloped other skills," he says. "James (the 11-year-old) is quite the accomplished swimmer. Competing through Young brothers James (left) and Luke (right) Georgiou are already champions and are setting the bar even higher. PHOTO: GEORGE GEORGIOU school he made it to the regionals. But, while he's good at other sports, karate is always the number one priority." The most recent accomplishment of the two youngsters were the two gold medals (one each) at the regional Pacific Cup championships in New Caledonia. However, this was just one of many, as James has also won Bronze medals in the Oceania championship, the Australian Open and the Australasian School Age championship, while Luke has brought home the gold at the Australasian School Age Championship, the Australian open and the Melbourne open. Both are also members of the Australian youth karate national team. But their ambitions do not stop there. "My dream, as a father, is to see them compete in Greece some day, since Europeans are up to another level," says Mr Georgiou. "But that's more just to say that we've done it for their ancestors and where they're from, and so forth." One of their short-term goals is to be a part of the team representing Australia at the youth training camp in July in Croatia, while their ultimate target is to participate in one of the next Olympic Games taking place in either 2024 or 2028. Despite all their success, it seems their training has given them the right mindset, as they aren't above helping out their classmates: "They enjoy training and mentoring younger kids that are coming through. They're both part of the leadership squad at their dojo which had their annual competition day last Sunday. It was only for fun, just for the younger kids who have never competed before within our own club. “An 11 and a 10-year-old were coaching kids their age, and younger, about the moves and what to do, etc. So it was pretty good, as a father, to be looking on and seeing them giving back something," says Mr Georgiou. However things play out in the future and no matter where their adventure with karate ends up taking the two boys, the one certain thing is that it has provided them with some lessons that will prove invaluable for the rest of their lives.
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