News World Greek President praises Olympic medallist for breaking abuse silence

Greek President praises Olympic medallist for breaking abuse silence

Greece‘s president has praised Olympic sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou for dissolving “a conspiracy of silence” by reporting a historic allegation of sexual assault by a sports official.

Bekatorou, who won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics, told the Greek edition of Marie Claire last month that she had suffered the abuse in 1998 when she was 21.

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, who met Bekatorou on Monday afternoon, said her courage offered hope to other women who had suffered similar abuse in their personal and professional lives.

“I hope her brave revelation will blow like a rushing wind and sweep any hypocrisy, any cover up attempt away,” ,” Sakellaropoulou said in a statement. “It is time to end the guilt of the victims and the impunity of the perpetrators.”

Although Bekatorou has referred the case to a prosecutor, Greek law would bar any prosecution after so many years.

However, since she made the allegations, other Greek athletes have also come forward and more recent cases may emerge as a result of the investigation.

The comments from Sakellaropoulou echo leaders across the Greek political spectrum, from Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to opposition leader Alexis Tspiras, who in a rare display of unity have all voiced support for Bekatorou.

They also add to growing pressure for more accountability from sporting federation officials, with Greek Deputy Sports Minister Lefteris Avgenakis saying on Sunday the government plans a bill allowing athletes to be represented on federation boards.

“We are determined to clean up this sector. The federation sector needs fresh oxygen,” he said.

The allegation by Bekatorou, who has not publicly named the official, has also prompted the Greek sports ministry to call for an investigation.

Bekatorou last week told an online conference that she did not open up about her abuse at the time, five years before the 2004 Games in Athens, fearing that it would destroy her Olympic dream and divide the Greek sailing team.

“Years later, having two children and thinking that other children would be in my place, I found the courage to speak up.” (Reuters)

Top Stories

The EU will never accept a two-state solution for Cyprus, Borrell underlines

Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side must stay away from the rhetoric for two states in Cyprus, because such a form of a settlement...

Two students in hospital after hooded persons invade school

A group of ten people who were not students and who were wearing hoods covering their faces entered the A’ Technical School of Nicosia...

Cultural Heritage Technical Committee completes conservation works

The Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage (TCCH)  announced on Friday the completion of conservation works at several sites within the framework of the “Support...

Expert: Third wave if people relax

Maria Koliou, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases at the University of Cyprus and President of the Special Committee of the Cyprus Medical...

3,570 doses of vaccines given to Turkish Cypriots

Leonidas Phylactou, Greek Cypriot co-head of the bicommunal technical committee on health said that this morning another 3,570 doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...