Στήλη: Sports

Rafael Nadal 2015 Year Review: Maybe the worst ever?

By Nikiforos Giakoumelos (A class)

 Καταγραφή

There is no doubt about that 2015 was a destructive year for the ‘King of Clay’, Rafael Nadal.

After suffering a horrible knee tendinitis in the end of 2014,  it was obvious that his comeback would not be an easy one. But no one could imagine this garbage. What numbers say is:

 

  2015 season 2014 season
Prize money $3,943,888 $6,066,446
Wins-Losses (Wins Percentage) 61–20 (75.31%)

48–11 (81.36%)

World Ranking No. 5 No. 3
Grand Slams won 0/4 1/3
Titles won 3 4

 

But let’s see the most representative moments of the year, with chronological order, from Qatar Open in January until ATP World Tour Finals in November:

  • Nadal began the year as the defending champion at the Qatar Open. However, he lost in the first round, suffering a shocking three set defeat to world number 127 Michael Berrer.

 

  • In the Australian Open, he beat Dudi Sela and Kevin Anderson in straight sets to advance to his 28th career Grand Slam quarterfinal. He was defeated there by Tomáš Berdych, thus ending his 17-match win streak against the Czech.

 

  • In the Rio Open, Nadal reached the semifinals of the Rio Open after defeating Thomaz Bellucci, Pablo Carreno Busta and Pablo Cuevas. However, he lost to Fabio Fognini in three sets in the semifinals, despite winning the first set and being a break up in the second. This was the first loss in his career against the Italian.
  • Nadal played in the ATP Buenos Airestournament, in Argentina, reaching the final without losing a set. He won his first singles title of 2015 and his 46th career clay-court title with a straight-sets victory over Juan Mónaco.

 

  • Nadal reached the quarterfinals of the Indian Wells Masters after beating his first three opponents in straight sets. However, his run was ended by Milos Raonic who beat him in three tight sets after Nadal squandered three match points in the second set tiebreak.

 

  • He next competed at the Miami Open, hoping to reach the final for the fifth time and win the tournament for the first time but he lost to Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round in three sets, failing to reach the fourth round of the Miami Open for the first time since 2006 (absent in 2013).

 

 

  • Nadal began his favourite part of the season in the clay courts of Monte-Carlo. After a first round bye, he defeated Lucas Pouille in  straight sets match before working hard to pass through big-serving John Isnerin three tough sets to book his quarterfinal spot. He defeated David Ferrerin another tight, three set match to proceed to the semifinals, and record his first win over a top 10 player since the final of the 2014 French Open. However, he was defeated by world No.1 Novak Djokovicin the semifinals in straight sets.

 

  • Nadal received a bye in the first round of the 2015 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadelland faced Nicolás Almagroin the second round, completing his revenge for his only loss in Barcelona last year to him by beating him in straight sets. However, he was upset by Fabio Fognini in the next round in straight sets for the second time in the year.

 

  • In Madrid Open, after two easy wins, Nadal had a two set win over Tomáš Berdychto reach his seventh Madrid Open final and 41st Masters 1000 final. He lost to Andy Murray in the final in straight sets. The loss saw Nadal drop out of the Top 5 for the first time since 2005, falling to No. 7.

 

  • Nadal opened his campaign for a 10th Roland Garros title by facing off against wildcard Quentin Halys, beating him in straight sets. He then defeated compatriot Nicolás Almagroand Andrey Kuznetsov, again both in straight sets. In the fourth round he defeated Jack Sockin four sets, but eventually lost to Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. The loss ended Nadal’s 5 year winning streak at Roland Garros and was just his second loss ever at the tournament. This loss also marked the first time since 2004 that Nadal failed to win at least one of the first two Grand Slam events of the season. As a result, his ranking dropped to No. 10 in the ATP singles ranking, his lowest ranking since April 2005, when he was nineteen years old.
  •  In the Stuttgart Open , Nadal reached his first grass-court tournament final since reaching the 2011 Wimbledon final by beating Gaël Monfilsin straight sets. Nadal won his third Stuttgart title and first grass-court title for the first time since winning the 2010 Wimbledon Championships by beating Viktor Troicki in straight sets in the final. It was only his 2nd title of 2015.

 

  • Nadal played at the Queen’s Club for the first time since 2011 as the fifth seed. He was knocked out in the first round by Alexandr Dolgopolov, who had previously beaten him at the 2014 BNP Paribas Open.

 

  • Nadal played at the 2015 Wimbledonas tenth seed. After beating Thomaz Bellucciin the first round in straight sets, he was eliminated in the second round in four sets by Dustin Brown. By winning, Brown became the first ever qualifier to ever beat Nadal at a Grand Slam.

 

  • Nadal decided to participate in the German Open for the first time since he defeated Roger Federerin the 2008 final in this tournament.  Nadal extended his streak of winning at least one European clay-court title every year since winning in 2004 by beating Fabio Fognini in the Hamburg final in straight sets.

 

  • Nadal opened his hard-court season campaign in Canada where he had won the title 3 times. He faced Sergiy Stakhovsky as his first opponent and defeated him in straight sets. He beat Mhail Youzhnyin the third round and advanced to QF, where he lost to Kei Nishikori in straight sets. This marked the first time in eight meetings that he lost a match against the Japanese player.

 

  • Nadal participated in the Cincinnati Masters the following week, hoping to repeat his 2013 feat by winning this tournament. He opened his campaign against Frenchman Jérémy Chardyand successfully defeated the Rogers Cup semi-finalist in straight sets to book his third round clash with compatriot Feliciano López, which he lost in three sets.

 

  • In the final major of the season, US Open,  Nadal once again faced Fognini, and again was defeated by the player from Italy, losing in the third round. In that match, Nadal won the first two sets, and previously had been 151–0 in Grand Slam matches that he led two sets to none. However, Fognini still defeated Nadal in five sets. The upset loss ended Nadal’s record 10-year streak of winning at least one major, and leaving him one year short of the record 11-year streak of reaching at least one major final.

 

  • Nadal received a first round bye into this ATP Masters 1000 event and faced Ivo Carlovic in the second round. Then he avenged his Indian Wells quarterfinals lost against Milos Raonicby beating him in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals. He defeated World No.4 and 2015 French Open Champion Stan Wawrinkain straight sets to reach his first semifinal of a Masters 1000 hard-court tournament in more than a year and with this win, Nadal has qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals. Despite sporting an 8-3 head-to-head winning record against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Nadal fell to the Frenchman in the semi-finals in three sets 4–6, 6–0, 5–7.

 

  • Nadal participated in the Swiss Indoors ATP 500 at Basel and reached the second final in a hard-court tournament of the season when he beat Frenchman Richard Gasquetin straight sets to set his first meeting for almost 2 years with long-time rival Roger Federer. However, in his first final at the Swiss Indoor, Nadal lost 3-6, 7-5, 3-6 to Federer.

 

  • Rafael Nadal was seeded fifth in the 2015 ATP World Tour Finals in London and was drawn in the Ilie Năstase Group alongside Andy Murray, David Ferrer and Stan Wawrinka. He first played against Wawrinka and successfully crushed his nemesis in straight sets. Nadal continued his blistering resurgence of form by dominating a fellow Big Four, Murray, in straight sets to claim a semifinal spot in the ATP Finals. He then beat Ferrer in three sets, advancing to the semifinals with three wins. But he then lost to Novak Djokovic in straight sets.

 

All in all, Rafa, it was a disappointing year. What do you think, can you recover in 2016 ?

Καταγραφή1

 

Sources:

www.wikipedia.org

www.atpworldtour.com

Why sports are important for children?

By Sophia Antonopoulou (A class)

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Sports are not only a source of enjoyment but also a way to maintain good physical health and help children develop good character. Experiences they gain through sports such as competition, success and failure are what they will find valuable later in their life. However, it is not uncommon to find athletes who are considered difficult or even bad-tempered.

First of all, children have the opportunity to learn the importance of hard work and punctuality through playing sports. When they try to succeed in sports, they will realize regular practice and tenacious efforts are necessary to give good performance. Moreover, in most sports there are rules that need to be followed. Through these rules athletes learn the value of teamwork, obeying to rules and the importance of fair play. Furthermore, by playing sports whether individual or a team sport, children can learn the joy of victory and they also must learn how to deal with disappointment that comes with a defeat. As a result, sports can build good character in children and teach them important life lessons which will be useful throughout their future.

On the other hand, no one can deny that most people admire athletes for their achievements in sports. Many famous athletes are considered bad-tempered while they are not at the begging off their career.  It seems clear that the most basic reason for this change in their character is money and sudden fame. A young person usually starts a sport as a hobby or due to the fact that he wants to escape from his daily routine and his problems. When he discovers that he has a special talent, everybody urges him to practice more and more. The pressure is too much for a young person. Additionally, sometimes money and fame corrupts people so much that they cannot see anything else. Last but not least, a person’s behavior can worsen in relation to the pressure applied to win at all costs.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that sports are not only for entertainment but help children build good character. By socializing and competing with other people, they develop essential skills. However, it can also cause bad-tempered athletes. I wholeheartedly believe that we should keep control and take into consideration both sides.

“There may be people that have more talent than you, but there is no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.”   – Derek Jeter-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volleyball

By Angelo Dedes and Stathis Konstantakopoulos (B class)

Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team’s court under organized rules. It has been a part of the official programme of the Summer Olympic Games since 1964.

The complete rules are extensive. But simply, play proceeds as follows: a player on one of the teams begins a “rally” by serving the ball (tossing or releasing it and then hitting it with a hand or arm), from behind the back boundary line of the court, over the net, and into the receiving team’s court. The receiving team must not let the ball be grounded within their court. The team may touch the ball up to 3 times but individual players may not touch the ball twice consecutively. Typically, the first two touches are used to set up for an attack, an attempt to direct the ball back over the net in such a way that the serving team is unable to prevent it from being grounded in their court.

The rally continues, with each team allowed as many as three consecutive touches, until either (1): a team makes a kill, grounding the ball on the opponent’s court and winning the rally; or (2): a team commits a fault and loses the rally. The team that wins the rally is awarded a point, and serves the ball to start the next rally. A few of the most common faults include:

  • causing the ball to touch the ground or floor outside the opponents” court or without first passing over the net;
  • catching and throwing the ball;
  • double hit: two consecutive contacts with the ball made by the same player;
  • four consecutive contacts with the ball made by the same team;
  • net foul: touching the net during play;
  • foot fault: the foot crosses over the boundary line when serving.

The ball is usually played with the hands or arms, but players can legally strike or push (short contact) the ball with any part of the body.

Serve

volleyball   A player stands behind the inline and serves the ball, in an attempt to drive it into the opponent’s court. The main objective is to make it land inside the court; it is also desirable to set the ball’s direction, speed and acceleration so that it becomes difficult for the receiver to handle it properly. A serve is called an «ace» when the ball lands directly onto the court or travels outside the court after being touched by an opponent.

In contemporary volleyball, many types of serves are employed:

  • Topspin: an overhand serve where the player tosses the ball high and hits it with a wrist span, giving it topspin which causes it to drop faster than it would otherwise and helps maintain a straight flight path.
  • Jump serve: an overhand serve where the ball is first tossed high in the air, then the player makes a timed approach and jumps to make contact with the ball, hitting it with much pace and topspin. This is the most popular serve amongst college and professional teams.
  • Jump float: an overhand serve where the ball is tossed high enough that the player may jump before hitting it similarly to a standing float serve. The ball is tossed lower than a topspin jump serve, but contact is still made while in the air. This serve is becoming more popular amongst college and professional players because it has a certain unpredictability in its flight pattern.

Pass

Also called reception, the pass is the attempt by a team to properly handle the opponent’s serve, or any form of attack. Proper handling includes not only preventing the ball from touching the court, but also making it reach the position where the setter is standing quickly and precisely.

The skill of passing involves fundamentally two specific techniques: underarm pass, or bump, where the ball touches the inside part of the joined forearms or platform, at waist line; and overhand pass, where it is handled with the fingertips, like a set, above the head. Either is acceptable in professional and beach volleyball, however there are much tighter regulations on the overhand pass in beach volleyball.

Attack

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The attack, also known as the spike, is usually the third contact a team makes with the ball. The object of attacking is to handle the ball so that it lands on the opponent’s court and cannot be defended. A player makes a series of steps (the «approach»), jumps, and swings at the ball.

Ideally the contact with the ball is made at the apex of the hitter’s jump. At the moment of contact, the hitter’s arm is fully extended above his or her head and slightly forward, making the highest possible contact while maintaining the ability to deliver a powerful hit. The hitter uses arm swing, wrist snap, and a rapid forward contraction of the entire body to drive the ball. A “bounce” is a slang term for a very hard/loud spike that follows an almost straight trajectory steeply downward into the opponent’s court and bounces very high into the air. A «kill» is the slang term for an attack that is not returned by the other team thus resulting in a point.

Block

Blocking refers to the actions taken by players standing at the net to stop or alter an opponent’s attack.

A block that is aimed at completely stopping an attack, thus making the ball remain in the opponent’s court, is called offensive. A well-executed offensive block is performed by jumping and reaching to penetrate with one’s arms and hands over the net and into the opponent’s area. It requires anticipating the direction the ball will go once the attack takes place. It may also require calculating the best foot work to executing the «perfect» block.

Player specialization

There are 5 positions filled on every volleyball team at the elite level: Setter, Outside Hitter/Left Side Hitter, Middle Hitter, Opposite Hitter/Right Side Hitter and Libero/Defensive Specialist. Each of these positions plays a specific, key role in winning a volleyball match.

  • Setters have the task for orchestrating the offense of the team. They aim for second touch and their main responsibility is to place the ball in the air where the attackers can place the ball into the opponents” court for a point. They have to be able to operate with the hitters, manage the tempo of their side of the court and choose the right attackers to set. Setters need to have swift and skillful appraisal and tactical accuracy, and must be quick at moving around the court.
  • Liberos are defensive players who are responsible for receiving the attack or serve. They are usually the players on the court with the quickest reaction time and best passing skills. Libero means “free” in Italian—they receive this name as they have the ability to substitute for any other player on the court during each play. They do not necessarily need to be tall, as they never play at the net, which allows shorter players with strong passing and defensive skills to excel in the position and play an important role in the team’s success. A player designated as a libero for a match may not play other roles during that match. Liberos wear a different colour jersey than their teammates.
  • Middle blockers or Middle hitters are players that can perform very fast attacks that usually take place near the setter. They are specialized in blocking, since they must attempt to stop equally fast plays from their opponents and then quickly set up a double block at the sides of the court. In non-beginners play, every team will have two middle hitters.
  • Outside hitters or Left side hitters attack from near the left antenna. The outside hitter is usually the most consistent hitter on the team and gets the most sets. Inaccurate first passes usually result in a set to the outside hitter rather than middle or opposite. Since most sets to the outside are high, the outside hitter may take a longer approach, always starting from outside the court sideline. In non-beginners play, there are again two outside hitters on every team in every match.

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Sources

  • en.wikipedia.org
  • www.gallaudetathletics.com

THRILLS, DANGER… AND EXTREME!!!

By Aggeliki Tzola and Vasiliki Stathopoulou (B Class)

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When you are choosing a sport or a hobby to take up, what influences your decision?

Some people may wish to avoid excessive risk. Others believe that the only activities worth doing are those which involve some real danger. So, what activities could you do and how risky are they?

The risk-takers among us enjoy participating in extreme sports, but what is fashionable changes every year. Snowboarding and bungee jumping are just too well-known these days. Today’s winter sport adrenaline junkies prefer heli-skiing or snow kiting. The first requires a helicopter to fly you to the top of the mountain, far from the ski lifts and slopes full of ordinary people. Then, you leap out and ski down the crispy, white snow. Of course you are skiing off-piste without marked runs and you don’t know whether you are going to go off the edge of the mountain, but that’s the full idea. Snow kiting   is just what you would expect. The skier or snowboarder is pulled along by a large kite which is blown by the wind. On a windy day, you can go so fast that you think that you are on the steepest of slopes. The best thing about it is that you aren’t dependent on the crowed ski lifts.

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OK, perhaps you want to take part in an activity that doesn’t require so much energy and is likely to cause physical pain? Maybe you don’t have enough time to do sports because you have too much housework to do? There is an activity that will allow you to do both at the same time. Extreme ironing! Not only does it involve ironing, but also a sport or activity of your choice.  For those who like heights you can set your ironing board up on a rocky ledge high above the ground. For the more athletic, you can try ironing while cycling, waterskiing, or even underwater.  The sport started up in the late of 1990’s and today silly people the world over take part in competitions and can even win awards! And when you’ve finished ironing, you can start extreme vaccuming!

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BASKETBALL

By Harry Memeledgoglou and Leonidas Papageorgopoulos (A Class)

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Basketball is a sport played by two teams of five players on a rectangular court. The objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter and 10 feet (3.0 m) high mounted to a backboard at each end. Basketball is one of the world’s most popular and widely viewed sports.

A team can score a field goal by shooting the ball through the basket during regular play. A field goal scores three points for the shooting team if the player shoots from behind the three-point line, and two points if shot from in front of the line. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but additional time (overtime) is issued when the game ends in a draw. The ball can be advanced on the court by bouncing it while walking or running or throwing it to a team mate. It is a violation to lift or drag one’s pivot foot without dribbling the ball, to carry it, or to hold the ball with both hands then resume dribbling.

As well as many techniques for shooting, passing, dribbling and rebounding, basketball teams generally have player positions and offensive and defensive structures (player positioning). Traditionally, the tallest and strongest members of a team are called a center or power forward, while slightly shorter and more agile players are called small forward, and the shortest players or those who possess the best ball handling skills are called a point guard or shooting guard. In early December 1891, Canadian Dr. James Naismith, a physical education professor and instructor at the International Young Men’s Christian Association Training School (YMCA) (today, Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts was trying to keep his gym class active on a rainy day. He sought a vigorous indoor game to keep his students occupied and at proper levels of fitness during the long New England winters. After rejecting other ideas as either too rough or poorly suited to walled-in gymnasiums, he wrote the basic rules and nailed a peach basket onto a 10-foot (3.05 m) elevated track. In contrast with modern basketball nets, this peach basket retained its bottom, and balls had to be retrieved manually after each «basket» or point scored; this proved inefficient, however, so the bottom of the basket was removed, allowing the balls to be poked out with a long dowel each time.

Basketball was originally played with a soccer ball. The first balls made specifically for basketball were brown, and it was only in the late 1950s that Tony Hinkle, searching for a ball that would be more visible to players and spectators alike, introduced the orange ball that is now in common use. Dribbling was not part of the original game except for the «bounce pass» to teammates. Passing the ball was the primary means of ball movement. Dribbling was eventually introduced but limited by the asymmetric shape of early balls. Dribbling only became a major part of the game around the 1950s, as manufacturing improved the ball shape.

The peach baskets were used until 1906 when they were finally replaced by metal hoops with backboards. A further change was soon made, so the ball merely passed through. Whenever a person got the ball in the basket, his team would gain a point. Whichever team got the most points won the game. The baskets were originally nailed to the mezzanine balcony of the playing court, but this proved impractical when spectators on the balcony began to interfere with shots. The backboard was introduced to prevent this interference; it had the additional effect of allowing rebound shots. Naismith’s handwritten diaries, discovered by his granddaughter in early 2006, indicate that he was nervous about the new game he had invented, which incorporated rules from a children’s game called «Duck on a Rock», as many had failed before it. Naismith called the new game «Basket Ball». The first official game was played in the YMCA gymnasium in Albany, New York, on January 20, 1892, with nine players. The game ended at 1–0; the shot was made from 25 feet (7.6 m), on a court just half the size of a present-day Streetball or National Basketball Association (NBA) court. By 1897–1898 teams of five became standard. In 1946, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) was formed. The first game was played in Toronto, Ontario, Canada between the Toronto Huskies and New York Knickerbockers on November 1, 1946. Three seasons later, in 1949, the BAA merged with the National Basketball League to form the National Basketball Association (NBA). By the 1950s, basketball had become a major college sport, thus paving the way for a growth of interest in professional basketball. In 1959, a basketball hall of fame was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts, site of the first game. Its rosters include the names of great players, coaches, referees and people who have contributed significantly to the development of the game. The hall of fame has people who have accomplished many goals in their career in basketball. An upstart organization, the American Basketball Association, emerged in 1967 and briefly threatened the NBA’s dominance until the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. Today the NBA is the top professional basketball league in the world in terms of popularity, salaries, talent, and level of competition.

The NBA has featured many famous players, including George Mikan, the first dominating «big man»; ball-handling wizard Bob Cousy and defensive genius Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics; Wilt Chamberlain, who originally played for the barnstorming Harlem Globetrotters; all-around stars Oscar Robertson and Jerry West; more recent big men Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal and Karl Malone; playmaker John Stockton; crowd-pleasing forward Julius Erving; European stars Dirk Nowitzki and Dražen Petrović; more recent stars LeBron James, Kevin Durant, & Kobe Bryant and the three players who many credit with ushering the professional game to its highest level of popularity: Larry Bird, Earvin «Magic» Johnson, and Michael Jordan. In 2001, the NBA formed a developmental league, the NBDL. As of 2014, the league has 18 teams.

 

SPORT ADDICTION & DRUGS

By George Andrikopoulos

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Sport is known and promoted as a natural way to stay healthy in terms of both the prevention and treatment of physical, psychological and social problems, but it can also become an obsession, connected also with drug-taking, which is harmful for our health, as it is shown by many examples.

When we talk about addiction to sport or an addiction to physical exercise, we are referring to a condition which does not necessarily involve a overgrowing abuse of sporting practice, but rather symptoms which are similar to those typical of other common addictions.

‘Sport Mania’, which is another term used incorrectly as a synonym for ‘sport addiction’, is an excessive behavioral tendency which causes an imbalance in one’s relationship with sport and which does not always show itself in the symptoms common to addictions. Sport mania can evolve into prolonged abuse of sporting activities and cause over-reaching, that is, a subtle form of overtraining which can require a resting period of a few weeks for psycho-physical rest, or even bring on a more stabile state of overtraining which requires months of rest as well as a daily, physical correctional program.

However, sport dependency, or sport addiction, is not always a overgrowing problem and does not simply involve the abuse of sport. It does not necessarily cause overtraining either, because the constant practicing of sport does not always result in an exhausting activity and, above all, it is has become known by some distinctive, psychological characteristics.

So, the frequency of training does not represent a good diagnostic measure since it does not provide any further information about the important motivational and emotional differences which have allowed us to recognize between the three types of people who turn to sport in an unbalanced and sometimes crazy and intense way.

As far as the professional athletes are concerned, they feel high volumes of stress and anxiety over the pressure to perform, beat their opponents and not to display any signs of weakness. For some, this pressure proves to be too exhausting, and drugs, alcohol or one of many other types of addiction becomes their escape. Many are unable to control their addictions and, over time, their ability to perform athletically and stay healthy becomes disable due to their addiction.

Moreover, many of them try to gain an advantage by using performance-enhancing drugs. This is well-known as doping, which is also another kind of addiction. Many performance-enhancing drugs are forbidden by sports” governing bodies. But why are these drugs so appealing to athletes?

Besides making muscles bigger, anabolic steroids may help athletes recover from a hard workout more quickly by reducing the muscle damage that occurs during the session. This enables athletes to work out harder and more frequently without overtraining. In addition, some athletes may like the aggressive feelings they get when they take the drugs.

Unfortunately many athletes take anabolic steroids at doses that are much higher than those prescribed for medical reasons, and most of what is known about the drugs” effects on athletes comes from observing users. Thus, however drugs increase the strength and the abilities of the athletes, they can also cause serious health problems, such as acne, increased aggression and mood changes, psychological dependence or they can result in diabetes, heart diseases, muscle and bone pains or abnormal growth of organs.

All in all, sports should be one of the most important things in our life, but this should not mean that we should also not respect our body or even better ourselves. Reaching goals with success in sport activities and also in our life must be done by us and not by illegal methods.

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Kick boxing

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By Alex Papadopoulos

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 Kick boxing is a combat sport that combines boxing and kicking. It is based on the boxing of Thailand and it is widespread throughout the world because of its practicality. It comes from Japan and North America, and combines the techniques of boxing with the kicks of karate and tae kwon do.

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In 1970, the first games of kickboxing began to be conducted, and in 1977 the World Federation of the sport was founded, the World Kickboxing Association (WKA). imagesCAX8UCW3

 Combat kickboxing is divided in amateur kickboxing (in which the athletes wear protective equipment) and in professional (in which they are not allowed to use protective equipment).imagesCA3BI99O

 The biggest event of world kick boxing is K -1. Iron Mike is the one who represents Greece in the professional kickboxing world championship, who won the Japanese championship and the Australian K -1, and has been included among the top kick-boxers in the world.

 There are lots of combat styles and gradations in kickboxing: the full contact, semi contact, light or medium contact, body contact and low kicks. There are also many sports related to kickboxing and vary depending on the country of origin. The most famous of them is the Muai Thai, or Thai Boxing, which is the national sport of Thailand and is created by the traditional Muai Thai, Mui Boran, and the combat kickboxing. The techniques of the boxing of Thailand are identical to those of kickboxing with the difference that in Muai Thai the use of elbows and knees is permitted. Another well-known style of kickboxing is Savate, which comes from France and its techniques are almost identical to those of the American kickboxing.

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BARCELONA F.C. 1899

By Spyros Politis, B2 class

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Footballl Club Barcelona, also known as Barcelona and familiarly as Barça, is a professional football club, based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.  Founded in 1899 by a group of Swiss, English and Catalan footballers led by Joan Gamper, the club has become a symbol of Catalan culture and Catalanism, hence the motto «Més que un club» (More than a club).

Unlike many other football clubs, the supporters own and operate Barcelona. It is the world’s second-richest football club in terms of revenue, with an annual turnover of $613 million and the third most valuable, worth $2.6 billion. The official Barcelona anthem is the «Cant del Barça», written by Jaume Picas and Josep Maria Espinàs.

Barcelona is the most successful club in Spain, in terms of overall official titles won. Barcelona was ranked first in the “All-Time Club World Ranking” by IFFHS, on December 31, 2009, and is also currently placed on top of the UEFA club rankings. A recent study by Goal.com found Barcelona to be the most successful club in the UEFA Champions League, ahead of AC Milan. Barcelona are the current Spanish football champions and have won 22 La Liga, 26 Copa del Rey, 11 Supercopa de España, 3 Copa Eva Duarte and 2 Copa de la Liga trophies, as well as being the record holder for the latter four competitions.  In international club football, Barcelona have won four UEFA Champions League, a record four UEFA Cup Winners” Cup, four UEFA Super Cup, a record three Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and a record two FIFA Club World Cup trophies.

The club has a long-standing rivalry with Real Madrid; matches between the two teams are referred to as «El Clásico». Barcelona is one of the most supported teams in the world, and has one of the biggest fanbase on social networks (with over 46 million fans on Facebook, around 10 million followers on Twitter, and more than 6 million on Google+). Barça’s players have won a record number of Ballon d’Or awards, as well as a record number of FIFA World Player of the Year awards. In 2010, the club created history when three players who came through its youth academy (Messi, Iniesta & Xavi) were chosen as the three best players in the world, having bagged the top spots at the FIFA Ballon d’Or, an unprecedented feat for players from the same football school.

Barcelona is one of the clubs to have played continental football every season since 1955, and one of three clubs never to have been relegated from La Liga, along with Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid. In 2009, Barcelona became the first Spanish club to win the continental treble consisting of La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League. That same year, it also became the first football club ever to win six out of six competitions in a single year, thus completing the sextuple, comprising the aforementioned treble and the Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. In 2011, the Blaugrana again became European champions and won a total of 5 titles, missing out only on the Copa del RΕΥ. This all-conquering Barça team, which reached a record 6 consecutive Champions League semi-finals and racked up 14 trophies in just 4 years under Guardiola’s charge, is considered by a few managers, players and experts to be one of the best team of all time. FC Barcelona B youth manager Pep Guardiola took over Frank Rijkaard’s duties at the conclusion of the season. Guardiola brought with him the now famous tiki-taka style of play he had been taught during his time in the Barcelona youth teams. In the process Guardiola sold Ronaldinho and Deco, and started building the Barcelona team around Xavi, Iniesta and Messi. Lionel Messi, four-time FIFA/Ballon d’Or winner, in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, and FC Barcelona’s top goalscorer in official competitions with 327 goals.

Barça beat Athletic Bilbao 4–1 in the 2009 Copa del Rey Final, winning the competition for a record-breaking 25th time. A historic 2–6 victory against Real Madrid followed three days later and ensured that Barcelona became La Liga champions for the 2008–09 season. Barça finished the season by beating the previous year’s Champions League winners Manchester United 2–0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome to win their third Champions League title and completed the first ever treble won by a Spanish side. The team went on to win the 2009 Supercopa de España against Athletic Bilbao and the 2009 UEFA Super Cup against Shakhtar Donetsk, becoming the first European club to win both domestic and European Super Cups following a treble. In December 2009, Barcelona won the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup and became the first football club ever to accomplish the sextuple. Barcelona accomplished two new records in Spanish football in 2010 as they retained the La Liga trophy with 99 points and won the Spanish Super Cup trophy for a ninth time.

After Laporta’s departure from the club in June 2010, Sandro Rosell was soon elected as the new president. The elections were held on 13 June, where he got 61.35% (57,088 votes, a record) of total votes. Rosell signed David Villa from Valencia for €40 million and Javier Mascherano from Liverpool for €19 million. In November 2010, Barcelona defeated their main rival, Real Madrid 5–0 in El Clásico. In the 2010–11 season, Barcelona retained the La Liga trophy, their third title in succession, finishing with 96 points. In April 2011, the club reached the Copa del Rey final, losing 1–0 to Real Madrid at the Mestalla in Valencia. In May, Barcelona defeated Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League Final 3–1 held at Wembley Stadium, a repeat of the 2009 final, winning their fourth European Cup.In August 2011, the La Masia graduate Cesc Fàbregas was bought from Arsenal and who would help Barcelona defend the Spanish Supercup against Real Madrid. The Supercup victory brought the total amount of official trophies to 73, matching the number of titles won by Real Madrid. Later the same month, Barcelona won the UEFA Super Cup after defeating Porto 2–0 thanks to goals from Lionel Messi and Cesc Fábregas. This extended the club’s overall amount of official trophies to 74, surpassing Real Madrid’s total amount of official trophies. The UEFA Super Cup victory also marked another impressive achievement as Josep Guardiola won his 12th trophy out of 15 possible in only three years at the helm of the club, becoming the all-time record holder of most titles won as a coach at FC Barcelona. FC Barcelona against Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League In December, Barcelona won the FIFA Club World Cup for a record second time since its establishment, by beating the Brazilian 2011 Copa Libertadores holders, Santos, 4–0 in the final thanks to two goals from Lionel Messi and goals from Xavi and Fábregas. As a result, the overall trophy haul during the reign of Guardiola was further extended and saw Barcelona win their 13th trophy out of 24 possible in 4 years, continuing their high-quality performance in recent world football competitions. In the 2011–12 season, Barcelona lost the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League against Chelsea. Right afterward, coach Pep Guardiola, who had been on a rolling contract and had faced criticism over his recent tactics and squad selections, announced that he would step down as manager on 30 June and be succeeded by assistant Tito Vilanova. Guardiola finished his tenure with Barça winning the Copa del Rey final 3–0, bringing the tally to 14 trophies that Barça had won under his stewardship.

Guardiola’s four trophy-laden years has inspired British director Paul Greengrass to make a documentary about the Catalan giants. Entitled Barça, the film will examine the process and legacy of one of the world’s most famous sports franchises, focusing primarily on the four years in which Guardiola guided the club to 14 trophies. The movie is expected to be finished ahead of the 2014 World Cup, when public attention will begin focusing on the international event in Rio de Janeiro. Xavi presently holds the team record for number of total games played (693) and the record number of La Liga appearances (454), surpassing the previous record holder Migueli (391).

FC Barcelona’s all-time highest goalscorer in all competitions (including friendlies) is Paulino Alcántara with 369 goals. The all-time highest goalscorer for Barcelona in all official competitions, excluding friendlies, is Lionel Messi with 327 goals. He is also the record goalscorer for Barcelona in European and international club competitions and the record league scorer with 223 goals in La Liga. Four people have managed to score over 100 league goals at Barcelona: Lionel Messi (223), César Rodríguez (192), Ladislao Kubala (131) and Samuel Eto’o (108) . On 2 February 2009, Barcelona reached a total of 5,000 La Liga goals. The goal was converted by Messi in a game against Racing Santander, which Barça won 2–1. On 18 December 2009 Barcelona beat Estudiantes 2–1 to win their sixth title in a year and became the first ever football team to complete the sextuple. Barcelona’s highest home attendance was 120,000, for a European Cup quarter-final against Juventus on 3 March 1986. The modernisation of Camp Nou during the 1990s and the introduction of all-seater stands means the record will not be broken for the foreseeable future as the current capacity of the stadium is 99,354.

 

GREEK RUGBY

By Peter Panagopoulos (B class)

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Rugby football is a style of football from England. It refers to two current sports, rugby league and rugby union. It developed from a version of football that was played at Rugby School.

Rugby union (rugby) is based on running with the ball in the hand. It’s played by fifteen players by each side. The ball is oval-shaped. The field is with H-shaped goalposts on each goal line. Each team starts the match with 15 players on the field and seven substitutes. There are eight forwards and seven backs. Forwards are generally bigger and stronger and take part in the scrum and line-out. On the other side, the back’s role is to create and convert point-scoring opportunities. They are generally smaller, faster and more agile than the forwards.

Rugby union is played between two teams. The one that scores more points wins the game. Points can be scored in several ways: a try, scored by grounding the ball in the in-goal area (between the goal line and the dead ball line), is worth 5 points and a subsequent conversion kick scores 2 points. A successful penalty kick or a drop goal each score 3 points. The values of each of these scoring methods have been changed over the years.

 

 The Greek federation of rugby was recognised by the Greek state in 2004 and the European in 2005.Today our country holds the 93th place worldwide. Hellas has 31 rugby clubs. Patras city has got two rugby teams. One team called “Aiolosimage

 

and the other “Patras’ Rugby’ .sdf

WATER PASSION

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By Harry Zaverdas (class A) 

Hard training, willing to try, strict discipline and above all: PASSION, is what you need to play one of the most fascinating sports- WATER POLO. The history of water polo starts in 1926 when, according to a story, English players of polo (played by horses) shot their ball into a lake and so they started playing a game with the ball in the water. The first unofficial games were organised by Wilson, a fanatic of water sports from Glasgow and played in lakes with boats for goalposts. The first official international water polo game was between England and Scotland and England won with 4-0.

The rules of the game are quite simple. Two teams with seven players each, try to put the ball into the opponent team’s goalpost. No one, except for the goalkeeper, is allowed to touch the ball with two hands. The game has 4 periods with 8 minutes each and the teams have 30 seconds to create an attack. The training is on a daily basis with over two hours a day. If you want to play water polo you have to swim fast and be in a nice physical condition. But water polo offers you a nice body sculpture. According to researches, by swimming you burn 550 kcal per hour, much more from any other exercise.

In conclusion, water polo is a worth-trying sport. Also, the fact that Greece has won so many titles at international level, gives us the sign that more and more people should try this amazing sport.

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