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National Coach of the Greek Team, Ioannis Kanellis, and his competitor Spyros Margaritopolous visited the Miyagi Kan dojo on the 12th and 13th of June to conduct seminars for the NSW State Team and the National Team contingent in Sydney.

They were welcomed into the dojo with open arms and motivated athletes eager to get the most out of such a successful coach and competitor. During the training sessions we worked on mostly technical training and an athlete’s training ethic. The seminars were a great success and everyone surely learnt a lot from them.

It was a pleasure for everyone to train and talk with the our guests for the short two and half days that they spent in Sydney. We hope that they had a good trip and that this is the start of a good relationship that will lead to more training seminars in Sydney and maybe one day, even in Greece.

In other news, Spyros competed in the Mediterranean Games at the start of July where he won a bronze medal in +84kg. He will be competing in the World Games in Taipei at the end of the month, where Tsuneari Yahiro will also be competing in. We wish them both the best of luck!!

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Below is an article that was published in Neos Kosmos (neoskosmos.com), a Greek-Australian news paper.
“Greek visitors give Australian karate a kick along for the better” (24/06/2009)
Australian Karate received a boost last week with a visit from the coach of the Greek national team Ioannis Kanellis, and Greek national champion Spyros Margaritopoulos.

They were invited by Australian Karate Federation President Michael Kassis to conduct training clinics to aid in the development of young Australian karate students.

“The purpose of bringing them out here was to show us some of the latest techniques that are currently used in various countries that are successful in coming back with medals from the World Championships,” Kassis said.

Their tour took in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. A massively popular sport in Europe, the Greek Karate Federation was founded in 1986, and has been led by Kanellis since then. “There are many things that I want to achieve in karate,” he said. “In Greece I have already achieved many things.”

Kanellis is credited with lifting the stocks of Greek karate. Despite having relatively low participation numbers nationwide, he says that Greek athletes train incredibly hard, and are destined for great things. “From all the competitions that I have seen over my many years, in Europe and at World Championships, we are constantly in the medals,” he says. “We have good athletes competing at the upcoming Mediterranean Games in Italy, and I believe we will take home at least four medals.”

Margaritopoulos is one of his star pupils, who at 26 years old has maintained the number one spot in Greece in his weight division for the last five years. Margaritopoulos considers amongst his career highlights a gold medal at the junior World Championships in 2003, and a silver medal at the senior World Championships in Tokyo.

His ultimate dream however would be to represent his country at the Olympic Games.

“Every athlete’s dream is to participate in this event, so it would be good for me and all the other Greek athletes for karate to make it into the Olympics,” Margaritopoulos said.

Karate is currently under consideration for acceptance into the 2016 Olympic Games, but faces stiff competition for two available spots. Kassis believes that acceptance into the Olympic Games will be the shot in the arm that Australian karate needs to lift it into contention at the highest levels.

“The entire attitude of karate people will change simply because it is an Olympic sport. I feel that training will increase by 70-75%,” he said.

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