When athlete Alexandros Papanastasiou, who reached the final with the national team at the Tokyo Olympics, returned to Athens, his family home in the Agia Anna area was engulfed in flames.
Three years ago, the transfer of the Greek athlete to the “champion” national team of Croatia was widely discussed. Three months after his move, the youth team headed by him won a gold medal at the European Championship in Minsk (Belarus).
Alexandros Papanastasiu is a great talent, and journalists contacted him for an interview. On the other end of the phone line, Alexandros was very polite, reserved. For half an hour of conversation, much became clear about the life of an athlete who literally “lives a dream” and is devoted to his great love: polo.
The son of the Greek athlete Thassos Papanastasiou Alexandros followed in his father’s footsteps and became interested in polo from an early age. In November 2015, a 16-year-old man managed to join the national team – 17 years after the last participation of his father Thassos.
Alexander grew up in the center of Athens, but his childhood memories are connected with Paleo Faliro, where he started playing polo, and Glyfada, which was the next moment in his development as an athlete.
Alexander first got acquainted with water polo at the age of 8 at the insistence of the Olympian, his father. The athlete recalls that it was he who brought his son “for trial” to the polo team. The guy was great at swimming, as he had previously worked with a coach in the pool.
“The atmosphere inside the team was what opened up the world of polo from a completely different side, just bewitching me,” says Alexandros.
The daily life of a pan-European athlete (now an Olympian) requires special restrictions and self-control. He divides his time between studying and reading in order to graduate and receive a higher education degree.
And yet he is the soul of the company, sometimes going out with friends to have a good evening: “Athletes can afford to go for a drink on Saturday night.”
Accurately following his hectic training schedule, he often missed partying with his friends, jealous of his classmates who could “go out” on Fridays. However, according to the Olympian, when you are completely devoted to sports, which is the meaning of your life, you usually have little free time.
His transfer to the Croatian team was the next step in his career. He made the decision to go abroad because he considered it a great opportunity to develop as an athlete and as a person.
As for whether he consults with his father about polo, Alexandros said that when it comes to training exclusively, he only listens to his coach and mentor. But in general, as an athlete, he completely trusts his father, who participated in three Olympic Games and made an important career in the sport.
Family house on fire
Greece won its first medal after beating Hungary 9: 6 and on Sunday (08.08, 10:30) will qualify for the gold medal in the final against Serbia. While the national team was celebrating their triumph, Alexandros Papanastasiou learned that his family home in Agia Anna was on fire. The news was announced on social media by his father and former athlete who competed in the Olympics three times and finished 6th in 1996 in Atlanta, Tassos Papanastasiou.
“Now let someone tell me when fire is destroying your home in Ag. Anna, and my son wins a medal in Tokyo, are you crying with joy or with grief? “, – wrote his father in social networks.